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.
I've discussed Cook-Greuter above. In re-reading the "context-transcendent meaning" thread this morning recall this post, where Bonnie provides a CG paper. My comment following it has been pasted below, relevant to this thread:
One immediate problem I see with CG's scheme is that despite her protects to the contrary she maintains the increasingly complex hierarchical scale from postformal into ego transcendence, as if one has to be postformal first before going post-symbolic. In other words, as I criticized Commons et al in the real and false reason thread, it extends this formal operational, linear progression into post (and post post) formal operations. Whereas I don't think it even requires postformal operations to go post-symbolic. However one can, and often does, interpret post-symbolic experience metaphysically so it does require a postformal interpretation to go postmetaphysical.
Now CG does go into the state v. stage differentiation, which is import here. Here she agrees with Wilber that the transcendental experience is available at any stage but only as a fleeting “state” experience. We then interpret it from the level of our ego development or “stage.” When one can stabilize these states they can become higher stages. Here she agrees with Wilber before he went postmetaphysical with the WC lattice, but she hasn't kept up with this last development. Hence she continues to interpret the post-symbolic with eastern meditative descriptions of ego transcendence in very metaphysical terms. At least Wilber is moving away from this, although not completely.
Now CG does note that Commons et al with their higher postformal stages are still stuck in more complex symbolical thinking, a criticism I also had in the real/false reason thread. And I agree with CG that there is a different kind of processing that happens in post-symbolism attained through methods like meditation. But where we part ways is when she continues to frame it in those traditional eastern, metaphysical ways. And she has this “stage” after construct aware, which most traditional meditators never reach.
Hence she starts conflating the construct-aware stage with some of the traits of the meditative tradition, like noting at this stage is the first time the ego becomes aware of itself, transparent to itself. I do not disagree that this stage is valid, or that one characteristic is indeed this ego awareness and transparency. It is indeed a further development over how most meditators interpret their nonetheless ego “transcendent” experiences. The latter thought does not equate to this level of interpretation.
CG's reasoning though is that such “state” experiences per above are only temporary for such meditators until they stabilize them in such higher stages. No, they never ever have to reach a higher than formal stage to stabilize such transcendent experience. Without the WC lattice and postmetaphysics her model is still quite limited about this apparent dilemma.
Another romantic and metaphysical notion CG maintains is that these “state” experiences are themselves the goal of enlightenment, and that they are what they seem on the surface: direct, immediate and unmediated by symbol, aka our friend the myth of the given all over again. All gift-wrapped in traditional interpretation that the symbolic ego is the bad guy here, the one that prevents us from this permanent, pristine, pure and ever-present experience of God. We see this in her unitive stage, where one merely accepts, and directly perceives, reality “as is.”
Again, I have no disagreement with even the unitive stage, just her metaphysical interpretation of it and its placement in the scheme (see references below). Another thing I noted in the real/false reason thread is that one can be partially post (or post post) formal in some domains or contexts while still remaining formal or metaphysical in others. Or even within the same domains in different contexts. There isn't a a monolithic one-size-fits-all “stage.” That in itself is still a formal characteristic carried over into an otherwise post (or post post if you're really into being superior, as developmentalists tend to be) view. All of which of course would say I haven't yet reached the unitive stage because of what I just said. In that they still remain like Wilber tied to their monolithic and hegemonic kosmic addressing.
My opinion if further reinforced by CG's concluding propositions, that we take up a traditional meditative practice and surrender to the guru to be properly “verified” in our ego transcendent experiences, and to help stablize them. Recall the traditions themselves are still stuck in metaphysical interpretations, interpretations that CG retains in describing the unitive stage and beyond. Still mix-and-matching like Wilber in this, but as I said, Wilber, while still guilty of it, has gone beyond it in ways CG has yet to fathom.
As to my own interpretations of all this, which are well know to long-time readers of the forum, see for example the referenced real/false reason thread as well as more recent threads like “what 'is' the difference,” “integral postmetaphysical nonduality,” or “kosmic addressing of mystical experience.”
PS to the last post: The CG material on this ego transcendent state-stage is akin to the Lingam's ultra-violet or clear transclucent state-stage at 3rd tier. But it seems to me that Torbert is grounding it much more postmetaphysically and empirically with attentional-attention, more akin to my own ruminations. More later.
I will reiterate some posts from other threads that demonstrate that if anything would qualify as a paraconsistent, both/and/neither/nor vision-logic of the fold, this would be it. And of a sort one just does not find in kennilingus.
From this post quoting "Alegebras, geometries, and topologies of the fold: Deleuze, Derrida and quasi-mathematical thinking (with Leibniz and Mallarme)" by Arkady Plotnitsky.
“Godel's findings fundamentally undermine the belief that mathematics could provide an impeccible model of truth and proof. […] Derrida's undecideability extends Godel's. It goes without saying that it is not a question of abandoning logic, but of establishing the limits within which logic would apply and of exploring the areas where one must operate beyond these limits (but never absolutely outside them)” (108-09).
Which reminds me of a few other sources in the forum. E.g, see this post of Norris on Badiou's reading of Derrida, excerpt following:
“Thus Derridean deconstruction, as distinct from its various spin-offs or derivatives, necessarily maintains a due respect for those axioms or precepts of classical logic (such as bivalence and excluded middle) that have to be applied right up to the limit—the point where they encounter some instance of strictly irresolvable aporia—if such reading is to muster any kind of demonstrative force” (175).
“Derrida’s classic essays must involve...a strong analytical grasp of the logical or logicosemantic
structures that are thereby subject to a dislocating torsion beyond their power to contain or control. After all, this could be the case—or register as such—only on condition that the reader is able and willing to apply the most rigorous standards of logical accountability (including the axioms of classical or bivalent true/false reasoning) and thereby locate those moments of aporia or logico-semantic breakdown that signal the limits of any such reckoning” (179).
“Such is the requirement even, or especially, where this leads up to an aporetic juncture or moment of strictly unresolvable impasse so that the logical necessity arises to deploy a non-classical, i.e., a deviant, paraconsistent, non-bivalent, or (in Derrida’s parlance) a 'supplementary' logic.... it is revisionism only under pressure, that is, as the upshot of a logically meticulous reading that must be undertaken if deconstruction is not to take refuge in irrationality or even—as with certain of its US literary variants—in some specially (often theologically) sanctioned realm of supra-rational ambiguity or paradox” (185).
And of course this post discussing Morton's book Realist Magic, where he discusses Garfield and Priest's infamous essay "Nagarjuna and the limits of thought" in refuting the law of the excluded middle,* which the latter used to support the emptiness of emptiness doctrine. I also did the same in "letting daylight into magic." Morton also references Priest's book on paraconsistent logic, In Contradiction.
* "The ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth" (10).
In re-reading this post I recalled a term I used to distinguish the above form of postop from kennilingus, transformal. From that post:
I am reminded yet again from Levin's references above of the real/false reason thread. Levin is also one who sees the need to hearken back to more fully integrate the pre-rational emotions and body, where as the cogscipragos have ascertained lies our more direct connections to the environmental field at large. And that said instrumental reason, while perhaps a necessary evolution, in itself is a "false" reason according to L&J, in that in its separation from the body/emotions it creates this abstract, dual, metaphysical world of ideal forms. L&J's research shows that "real" reason is one that is indeed embodied, and as such connects us back to that field at large. Other references in that thread also point to how so-called postformal operations, according to the hierarchists, is just so much more complexity piled on top of this disembodied instrumental rationality. Whereas those enacting so-called postformal operations talk much more about the kinds on integration we're seeing in the likes of Levin, Derrida, Caputo, OOO, etc.
That's why I now prefer the term transformal for this more fully integrated and proportional centaur. I agree with Kennilingam in that any level can break off into dissociation and to me that's what happened with the complexity crowd. The more hierarchical and kennilingus centaur has a human head so large and out of proportion as to be comical, its legs skinny and weak, incapable of supporting such superfluous narcissism. Just ask a dancer where our root and connection to the field lies.
I referenced this article above, "Nagarjuna and the limits of thought." Therein they discuss an issue similar to Thakchoe in this post and following. From the section "The ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth":
"The centerpiece of his Madhyamaka or 'middle way' philosophy is the thesis that everything is empty. This thesis has a profound consequence. Ultimate truths are those about ultimate reality. But since everything is empty, there is no ultimate reality. There are, therefore, no ultimate truths. We can get at the same conclusion another way. To express anything in language is to express truth that depends on language, and so this cannot be an expression of the way things are ultimately. All truths, then, are merely conventional. [...] The views that one must relinquish are views about the ultimate nature of reality. And there is no such thing as the ultimate nature of reality. That is what it is for all phenomena to be empty. [...] There are, therefore, ultimate truths. Indeed, that there is no ultimate reality is itself a truth about ultimate reality and is therefore an ultimate truth!" (10-11)
Of course this sounds like a contradiction to our formal logic. But per previous posts they use paraconsistent logic, or vision-logic in my interpretation. Or as they call it in the article, the "transconsistent" (18). They note that Nag goes beyond the 'limit of expressibility' paradox akin to Wittgenstein, Derrida and Heidegger (and similar to Thakchoe in this series of posts) but adds the 'ontological paradox.'
"If Nagarjuna is correct in his critique of essence, and if it thus turns out that all things lack fundamental natures, it turns out that they all have the same nature, that is, emptiness, and hence both have and lack that very nature. This is a direct consequence of the purely negative character of the property of emptiness, a property Nagarjuna first fully characterizes, and the centrality of which to philosophy he first demonstrates. Most dramatically, Nagarjuna demonstrates that the emptiness of emptiness permits the 'collapse' of the distinction between the two truths, revealing the empty to be simply the everyday, and so saves his ontology from a simple-minded dualism. Nagarjuna demonstrates that the profound-limit contradiction he discovers sits harmlessly at the heart of all things. In traversing the limits of the conventional world, there is a twist, like that in a Mobius strip, and we find ourselves to have returned to it, now fully aware of the contradiction on which it rests" (19).
We see from above the sort of both/and/neither/nor para/transconsistent vision-logic that requires a 'fold' or twist, as in a Mobius strip. The very fold I've been talking about from the beginning of the thread, but translating it into other terms/paradigms, including kennilingus. And all of which changes the very nature of what is called so-called 2nd-tier or postmetaphysical thinking.
Also see Priest's attached article, "The logic of the Catuskoti."
In re-reading some posts from the Integral Review thread I came upon this post referencing Gidley's article relevant to recent posts above, as well as this thread in general:
From Gidley's article:
"The postformal features I want to highlight include: complex thinking, paradoxical reasoning. [...] Complex thinking involves the ability to hold multiple perspectives in mind while at the same time being able to meta-reflect on those perspectives and the potential relationships among them. This is also referred to as metasystemic thinking. Paradoxical thinking is one of the expressions of complex postformal logic. [...] Postformal logics go beyond Aristotelian formal logic, which requires an either/or response thus creating what is called an 'excluded middle.' Paradoxical thinking refers to the ability to hold in mind the apparently illogical possibility that two contradictory statements can both be true—or indeed both false. This paradox of the included middle allows for both/and and neither/nor to be correct" (152-3).
"Steiner also used the term integral in a way that foreshadowed Gebser’s use of the term. The latter claimed that the integral structure of consciousness involves concretion of previous structures of consciousness, whereby 'the various structures of consciousness that constitute him must have become transparent and conscious to him' (p. 99). Gebser used the term 'integral simultaneity' (p. 143) to express this. This echoes Steiner’s characterization of 'the stages on the way to higher powers of cognition ... [where one eventually reaches] a fundamental mood of soul determined by the simultaneous and integral experience of the foregoing stages'" (154).
Recall above Garfield & Priest said: "If Nagarjuna is correct in his critique of essence, and if it thus turns out that all things lack fundamental natures, it turns out that they all have the same nature, that is, emptiness, and hence both have and lack that very nature. This is a direct consequence of the purely negative character of the property of emptiness."
So ultimate nature is not 'essence,' so defined by lack of an inherent and/or independent existence. And yet all entities have the 'same' ultimate nature with this negative character. Yet OOO adds something to this with a positive, individual and autonomous 'substance' that allows for a withdrawn core that claims to be not entirely relational, at least to other entities, due to the nature of this withdrawal. Whereas Buddhism is typically depicted as completely relational via co-dependent origination and due to no essences gets associated with no autonomous substances.
Take for example another of Priest's articles, "The structure of emptiness." An excerpt:
"A central part of its meaning [emptiness] is [...] there are no substances. Nothing exists in and of itself. Everything that exists does so in as much as, and only in as much as, it relates to other things. It has, so to say, only relational existence" (1).
Recall this post from the OOO thread referencing lava lamp materialism from chapter 3 of Real Magic. One expression of this is the sort of Buddhism Metzinger and related colleagues employ. It seems Priest employs it as well. Will have to read Priest's article more thoroughly to comment further. Especially since Morton uses Priest repeatedly as an exemplar of the sort of paraconsistent logic needed to formulate Morton's withdrawal.
In Morton's Intro he uses autopoeisis to support how an suobject both is and is not, in that a system is operationally closed while structurally open. This makes sense when we take account of the contextual meaning of the words rather than assuming that open and closed are abstract and idealistic terms outside of any context and thus strictly dichotomous.
In chapter 3 he applies Priest (In Contradiction) on motion in that an object cannot be confined to a particular point in time when moving but rather only within a neighborhood of time. This is in distinction with a process-relational view that sees the object at a sequence of space-time points throughout its trajectory. Morton extends this to mean that objects create their on space-time rather than being in a space-time. And they can do so only because they are split, i.e., here and not here at the same time. Or as we explored elsewhere,* they are both present and absent per differance. Again, it depends on what we mean by the terms here and not here, for they are not abstract, metaphysical dichotomies as defined in that link.
Next I'll go into the Priest reference in the last post.
* Also see Bryant's article "Time of the object."
On 3 Priest clarifies that “self-existence is to exist independently of anything else.” I don't think this opposes Bryant's OOO in that a suoject can retain its autonomy or 'substance' while being completely contingent, immanent and without 'essence.' But can the likes of Priest admit autonomous substance?
On 4 Priest argues against substance, equating it with being “independent of the possession of any properties.” Bryant doesn't say this, since any suobject indeed has properties, it just isn't completely identified with them.
In the following pages he goes into his math-logic, over my head. But his conclusion to this is as follows: “Emptiness is not a nothing: it has a determinate structure, one of pure form” (11). Which seems to me to be the very type of lava lamp materialism Morton rails against.
We discussed the relation to Buddhism earlier in the thread starting with this post and several following, bringing in Morton. After an intense discussion comparing Bryant's endo-elements and Buddhist aggregates recall this post on, among other things, the emptiness of emptiness:
And it is in this sense that it corresponds with the emptiness of emptiness doctrine, for even the virtual lacks completely independent existence, requiring constructed elements to survive and maintain its own constructed autonomy. A virtual substance might not be reduced to its exo-relations but it surely interdepends on them for its continued existence. No exo-relations, no endo-relations.
But this is not the end of the story.