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.
And of course this Gidley quote on Gebser, which I've used in several posts and threads:
"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 my commentary to that Gidley quote in this post follows:
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.
That was almost 2 years ago and I'm still trying to work out the same/differences in basic and transitional structures, what is included and what is replaced. Which of course this thread is the most recent example, culling past posts/threads with new material and sources with a few new insights. But I'm still not there yet.
I just started this Laske ILR article. I'll comment later. For now:
"I outlined in volume 2 of Measuring Hidden Dimensions that and how cognitive development can be conceived as a progression through four epistemological eras, from Common Sense to Understanding to Reason on to Practical Wisdom. The transition between each two of these eras is characterized by the fact that steps taken in cognitive achievement are never rescinded, except perhaps in mental illness. Consequently, they gradually begin to occur in parallel, or more concisely, in layers, and arrive at their end gathered together as integrated dimensions that form a complete transformational system, with intricate relationships between them.
"The progression by which humans mature cognitively has a well-paced beginning and a foreseeable ending, in that all four strands representing the four eras come together and coalesce. It is as if one were to follow four rivers, each starting at a subsequent location relative to the first, but ultimately, coming closer and closer, together making up a broad stream of sea-going proportions. Clearly, this is an entirely different progression than the social-emotional one, not only because it does not occur in stages but in phases, but also in that it is multi-dimensional."
After describing the 4 phases of dialectical thinking he says of the final phase:
"One can integrate multiple, mutually interdependent perspectives, not just in breadth (as in integral thinking), but in depth. This means that we discard all formalistic thinking [my emphasis], even thinking 'in quadrants', because we can see the quadrants as mere moments of a totality we already grasped when we entered the world of R [relationship, the 3rd phase]."
One seeming contradiction from the last 2 posts is that between the four epistemological eras "steps taken [...] are never rescinded," and yet "we discard all formalistic thinking." He describes Understanding as that formal thinking, so again we have confusion between what is included and what is replaced. The first quote sounds akin to Gebser's integral-aperspectival, where all four are integrated and co-exist, and yet apparently the associated (world)views of each before such dialectical integration are not. I'll research Laske more for clarification on that.
Another point in the last ILR article is in describing Common Sense as "a deep capability that is strongly rooted in the human body. One might see it as somatic knowledge, a kind of ('unconscious’) knowledge that is in constant physiological fluctuation in a visceral and psychologically relevant way." And yet when we move from this to Understanding (formal logic) he characterizes common sense as "a buzzing and booming confusion" where there is no object constancy and no separation of self and environment. This is not at all supported by L&J's embodied realism, noting that our prerational image schema are based in such categorical differentiation. And not at all consistent with the likes of Bhaskar's notion of nondual ontic differentiation per se (differance) as noted in this recent post. Granted Laske is calling them epistemological eras but even within that frame it is not consistent with L&J's epistemological notion of real reason as an extension of prerational categorization.
Here are a few excerpts from the "complexity and pomo" thread starting with this post and following quoting Montuori:
"Morin’s effort would be to develop a form of thinking—and of being in the world—that is always self-reflective and self-critical, always open and creative, always eager to challenge the fundamental assumptions underlying a system of thought, and always alert for the ways in which, covertly or overtly, we create inviolate centers that cannot be questioned or challenged. Knowledge always requires the knowledge of knowledge, the ongoing investigation and interrogation of how we construct knowledge" (4).
"And this is in many ways Morin’s central contribution—to point out that there are problems, such as the human/nature or two culture split, that must be approached with a radically different way of thinking, a way of thinking that, as Morin states, is not disjunctive (either/or), but connects, without the Hegelian assumption that the dialectic will always lead to a new synthesis" (10-11).
Also recall this post earlier in the thread, an excerpt:
"This description leaves no doubt that vision-logic, as Wilber conceives of it, is more or less identical with the Hegelian dialectic and its process of 'sublation' (aufheben). While Morin honors Hegel for having recognized, with the dialectic, 'the existence of a principle of negativity which transforms all things, all beings, all acts into their opposites', he faults Hegel for considering contradiction a transitory 'moment' of the Aufhebung, a moment which is ultimately annulled in the 'synthesis' of the third term. Wilber’s vision-logic is subject to the same strictures, particularly insofar as it subserves the idealist metaphysics associated with the root metaphor of the Great Chain of Being. Although the notion of vision-logic represents a significant step beyond the formal-operational thinking typical of the mature (Western) mental ego, it must, like the Hegelian dialectic, 'itself be sublated in a dialogic… that instigates the interaction, through the joining in a manner at once complementary… and antagonistic, of two logics—auto-logic and eco-logic”.
Also of relevance the following from Anselmo's "Philosophical sources for Morin's sociology":
"If, however, on the one hand the Hegelian dialectic has the proper requisites to sustain a complex thought, in that it is based on the idea, for example, that contradiction can be found in everything and that it plays a generative role, or on the idea that overcoming it starts from a negation, on the other Morin still seems to ﬁnd it insufﬁcient.
'It is monist in the idea it starts from, and therefore does not allow enough space for the meeting, that is, for the random element which intervenes in the formation of a dialectic: hence it eliminates chance and becomes an almost necessary movement which, despite the desire too overcome it, recalls deterministic mechanics (Morin,1987, p. 181).'
"In Morin’s opinion, although he recognizes the importance of the destructuring event, Hegel still places it within an auto-generated process that totally coincides with the development of the dialectic of the Spirit; in other words, the event, the hetero-generative, what Hegel deﬁnes as 'negative,' is completely integrated into the auto-generative. This might be another form of rationalization, another perhaps less explicit way of eliminating randomness, symbol of risk and the unknown; yet idealism seems like a soft rationalism, a conception in which the structures of the Spirit include a transparent world without meeting irreducible and refractory residues. Hegel’s historical idealism causes the world to obey an auto-generated process that coincides with the development of the dialectic of the Spirit, thus reality coincides with the rational. [...] In his opinion, a scienza nuova must consider chance, randomness, and disorder not as eliminable once and for all, but as complementary constituents of order and regularity, the structure of reality itself. Nor in this case can contradiction be considered a transitory moment that leads to overcoming, or to synthesis, but as something that continues to remain, in that it is a structural aspect of reality" (475).
See this post and following from another thread, some of which I was intending to put here but it was appropriate there at that moment.
“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” Gilbert K. Chesterton
I was hoping to find more support on the elements of individual endo-structures but did not. He did though discuss communication as the foundation of social systems, that it is an internal relation distinguished from an external relation (aka endo- and exo-relations). He mentioned Husserl's transcendental phenomenology, transcendental in that self-reflexivity is inherent to any consciousness that draws a distinction with its environment, yet it is also tied to the phenomenon in that environment and thus not an a priori essence.* This differential theoretical approach was an improvement over one that emphasized essences. This principle could equally apply to ontology and theology, but he doesn't elaborate.
I appreciated the discussion of Spencer Brown's calculus (actual math), which was not about logic but about time and transformation, aka thermodynamics.** This applies to what he calls re-entry, the systemic feedback loops. It sounds a lot like Derrida's iteration. E.g. he calls re-entry of the distinction a paradox because it “means that the distinction that re-enters itself is the same and, at the same time, is not the same” (54). Same difference! Interestingly, on 54-5 he talks about how one can resolve the paradox by acknowledging variable perspectives and creating meta-levels. Although he does call this method logically “questionable and disreputable,” though the logicians keep using it so it must then be ok. But only in the context of the difference between self-reference and other-reference, which seems sort of like 1st and 3rd person perspectives. Unfortunately he doesn't really clarify this to my mind.
* This relates to the meditative claims of Causal consciousness, or consciousness without an object, which suppose that because it is not focused on an external object and it feels like nothingness that therefore it is contacting some metaphysical ground. I've argued elsewhere that even this form of awareness is indeed tied to the phenomenon of its interior brain states from far earlier in its evolution, i.e, it is an embodied phenomenon.
Luhmann point to this self reflection of earlier internal states on p. 54. He doesn't make the connection with image schema (but I do), those more direct and pre-rational mediators and differentiators with our environment, both internal and external. Just because it feels like there is no object of consciousness due to going below the egoic-rational (dualistic) level does not make it so.
** I've discussed elsewhere how thermodynamics transformed the sciences, even quantum theory, in the move from essences to differences. And something not yet picked up on in formal operational systems like capitalism, the model of hierarchical of complexity's classical set theory, and kennilingus generally.