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.
Also recall this post, quoting Loy: "Shunyata is not 'nothingness' but the formless potential that describes awareness prior to identification with any form" (166). Which brings me back to Damasio’s different selves or Thompson’s ipseities. This post relates them to meditation practice. In the post following I argue that states like shunyata arise in the core self via meditation.
It is not "pure form."
"We outline here how the traditional theoretical context of mindfulness practice can offer important suggestions for scientific research. In particular, the five aggregates model draws distinctions that are not always clearly formulated in contemporary cognitive science, but that are crucial for a scientific understanding of the function of mindfulness meditation. We suggest below how empirical hypotheses about the role of memory and its relation to attention and consciousness in mindfulness meditation can be refined in light of distinctions suggested in the Buddhist five aggregates model" (586-7).
There were a lot of technical terms, both Buddhist and scientific. He tries to bridge them to find correlations but admits they are at times questionable or approximate at best. Nonetheless to translate, we've seen some of this earlier in this thread and elsewhere, the aggregates being, body, emotion, base mind or core attention, volition and consciousness. He relates the 3rd and 5th to open monitoring and concentration meditative techniques. Granted both have a focused attention and monitoring function and activate both aggregates. The latter monitors wandering away from and return to a selected object of focus. The former monitors wandering away and a return to focus on whatever is present. It activates more the base level and inhibits selective attention.
Further reflection on the last post relates to earlier posts in the thread. And themes I've been harping on for some time. One being it takes an egoic-rational operation with the capacity of deliberative and selective attention to 'meditate.' Aka, the fifth aggregate of 'consciousness.' Or in Damasio's terms, the narrative self. Now the monitoring comes from the 3rd aggregate, this base or core awareness but one with ipseity, unlike gross body awareness or slightly more subtle emotional feeling tone. To put it in Damasian, the body and emotions obviously have attention but lack human ipseity. And after it emerges it translates body and emotions in particularly human ways distinct from the animal world, with which we share these aggregated 'levels.'
Going back to forms of meditation, we need the selective attention to choose a focus. We need the base core awareness to monitor the basal attention of the body and emotions. And we need the volitional will to hold the selected object in awareness, be it a particular object or whatever object arises. The process activates all the aggregates and aims at their integration, which integration never gets off the ground without the synthetic ego. Which recall earlier is much more than the 'I,' or the increasing degree of ipseity of the last 3 aggregates, as it has gone back to bring forward the body and emotions in balance and equilibrium. Again, the fold which doesn't necessarily get more complex and higher but more integrated and deeper.
Now to complicate this further, as if that isn't enough, if Luhmann is right the aggregates are not transcended and included levels but are separate systems altogether that nonetheless interact via structural coupling. And as suggested earlier, perhaps individually they continue to undergo development on their own given their continual coupling as a more complex assemblage. It's not so much that the higher integrates the lower but that equivalent and separate systems synergize in a more integrative coupling in a strange, democratic mereology.
See this post and a few following for Luhmann per the last post.
Also see this post and following from earlier in the thread on Luhmann and Buddhist aggregates.
Some posts from the real/false reason thread supporting recent posts above. From this one:
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."
From this post:
Another connection occurring to me (as gift from my Muse) is that these image schemas, as well as Edwards' different lenses, taken singly can represent the various theoretical ideologies. We've already seen how a focus on the container schema can lead to an ideology of objectivist hierarchical complexity. And using Bonnie's talk above, how a focus on a cyclic image schema might lead to what Gebser called the mythic structure (or ideology). Gebser's integral-aperspectival (IA) structure though, at least according to Gidley (2007),* is a means to allow for all previous structures to be as they are and co-exist together simultaneously. The IA is not another isolated structure that transcends and replaces previous structures, including the mental. In this sense it breaks with the pattern of progression in deficient rational. And we see exactly this type of coordination of the various image schemas in Lakoff, that each has its place, none are replaced. Same for Edwards' lenses. This produces a new kind of transparent, postmeta paradigm of multiplicty, in Deleuzes's terms, or IA in Gebser's. One that is relative according to Lakoff, but also constrained by the real.
* For example: "For Gebser, integral-aperspectival consciousness is not experienced through expanded consciousness, more systematic conceptualizations, 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 re-integration of the living vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of mythic-feeling and the purposefulness of mental conceptual thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in order for the integral transparency to shine through" (111).
Gidley, J. (2007). "The evolution of consciousness as a planetary imperative." In Integral Review 5.
And this post and the one following:
I've changed some of my views on the above since that older posting but it is basically the same. What is replaced is the formal notion of ever more complexification. The integration of the 'lower' levels isn't integrating them as they were when we were within them. They too have been developing below awareness so then when we go 'back' to get them they have evolved in themselves. Another way of looking at it is that previous 'levels' become through their independent growth, and an aperpectival integrating awareness, all at the same level. Seeing them as higher/lower levels is another aspect that needs to be replaced. And the previously 'lower' levels are indeed replaced because in the integrative process they too are now up to speed, so to speak. This is the integral-aperspectival leap to 2nd tier. This twist in the program changes the entire dynamic of levels, lines, states etc.
Another slant or trajectory on this is this post in the OOO thread, how the different levels in a human being are different systems that have to communicate with each other via structural coupling.
"In Luhmann's theory the 'human being' is not conceptualised as forming a systemic unity. Instead it has to be understood as a conglomerate of organic and psychic systems. The former consists of biochemical elements, the latter of thoughts. Both systems are operatively closed against each other: no system can contribute elements to the respectively other system. The systems are however structurally coupled; i.e. their respective structures are adjusted to each other in such a way as to allow mutual irritations" (9-10).
Only with IA awareness we 'integrate' the various levels-systems not by subsuming them into the higher or unitary level but by the levels now structurally coupling with and communicating with each other. Our consciousness is now an hier(an)archical multiplicity with many often irritating voices.
From this post:
In Chapter 6 of Goddard’s Transpersonal Theory he reiterates something I said in the Krishnamurti 2 thread about Gebser. Previous structures are not holonically subsumed into the next higher structure. The lower structures continue to develop laterally within the dominant higher structure. However successively higher structures up to the mental-ego are by nature “divisive” or exclusive into a higher-lower polarity whereby one pole is dominant, and higher tends to at least consciously (epistemologically) subsume the lower. Nonetheless ontologically the repressed (and previous) pole (structure) continues to develop but unconsciously and it is not until the so-called centaur structure (Geber’s IA) that we begin the return arc of integration of our formerly repressed structures. This conscious return then finds those previous structures having gone through their own developments unbeknownst to us so that they are not the immature magical and mythical worldviews they were on the upward arc of development. Add in the conscious ego’s recognition and integration of them and we get an IA structure that holds all of the structures as they are without contradiction.
From Goddard, chapter 16:
"Evolution on the Outward arc is an assertive and agentic process of building, building an ever more complex and stratified self/world structure through the first six stage-structures. But beyond this, transcendence does not consist in building further and ever greater superstructures on the basis of the ordinary self/world structure; it is not an accessing of new and hierarchically ordered mental-social structures beyond those of the Outward arc. Rather, as we move into more subtle and rarefied levels of consciousness, we are called to deconstruct and transform, within the higher space of transpersonal awareness, the self/world structures of the Outward arc. Transcendence is an accessing of higher ontological domains through a radical re-organization, a deep transformation involving a total deconstruction of self and its experienced world(s) thereby revealing higher and more subtle levels of consciousness.
"Since the ego cannot develop except in distinction from the non-ego (individual distinct from society, psyche distinct from nature), the development of egoic consciousness necessarily occurs over against unconsciousness. A stable transcendence is not possible without our 'going back' and awakening to all the marginalized levels of both the individual's buried history and complexes (the personal unconscious) and the collective unconscious. The difference between, on the one hand, the transpersonal domains and, on the other, the pre-personal and personal domains is that the transpersonal is an integrative joining, a flowing together of the conscious and the unconscious once the divisive structures begin to be deconstructed. As we negotiate the curve and enter the Return arc, it is through a transpersonal embrace that all deeply rooted dualisms and divisions of the Outward arc can begin to be reconciled."