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.
"Even Luhmann stresses this point, arguing that we must distinguish between the environment of a system (the particular way in which an object is open to the world or forms an umwelt), and systems in the environment of a system (other entities with different umwelts). Sadly he doesn’t himself follow this distinction through very consistently or coherently due to his ultra-posthumanist-correlationism. Had he followed this distinction through consistently (same with Latour), he would have arrived at the caveat that objects or systems cannot be reduced to how they are as correlates for another system."
I stopped reading An Inquiry into Modes of Existence because of other more pressing things I needed to work on, but I'll be picking it up again soon. I think Latour's earlier work is definitely correlationist and actualist, at least to some degree (and Bryant's is, too, if we consider his pan-correlationism); but I'm not sure "modes" can be equated with "perspectives" as you are suggesting here, since Latour's descriptions of modes suggest distinct ontological modes of being (not epistemological perspectives).
I'm not sure either, but Luhmann seems to infer that distinctions per se are also ontological, though in the last citation he doesn't elaborate.
In this post on Bryant discussing second-order observation, I noted that he doesn't follow this through to a developmental progression a la something like spiral dynamics. I also said Luhmann didn't, but obviously the recent post above indicates he did, though not in any detail. Like Bryant he did so by noting the re-entry of a distinction upon itself whereby a new distinction can be made, one that took account of more of the unmarked space than previously, and thus uncovering some of the hidden assumptions within the previous distinction and thereby obtaining a meta-observation. But I think Bryant might be right in saying Luhmann doesn't also explore the unmarked space a la the withdrawn within any distinction, as it is always without or on the other side.
Another point I'm trying to discern about progress or development is the notion of teleos. For example, see this post on Bryant and DeLanda's non-teleological view, and the discussion on that page. And Maturana and Varela on the topic in this post, with discussion following. I'm also reminded of some thoughts in this post and following on man-made teleos.
On this last point, kennilingus and the model of hierarchical complexity (MHC) assume a teleology. For the Lingam it is a morphogenetic gradient from involution that pulls evolution up toward it, like a strange attractor. For the MHC it is both Platonic ideal forms and Aristotelian universal categories. Both require that the lower be subsumed in the higher, and both assume that this higher is the real goal to which evolution is moving. Both require essences.
Note how the referenced system dynamicists still have a virtual dimension where strange attractors create paths which guide actual occasions. (Note the plural, attractors, so that depending on conditions different paths can be taken.) They seem like essences in that way but their attractors are entirely immanent, i.e., there is no essential or ideal dimension already in existence guiding this process with a goal 'in mind' (or in spirit, if you must). And this virtual dimension is intimately entangled with the actual domain, which provides the environmental conditions whereby the virtual can express. Under different environmental conditions a suobject will manifest in different ways. Any particular manifestation is not the way it is supposed to be according to a divine plan, or even some rational notion of ideal categories.
So how does this relate to psychological levels of development? Yes, the human form as evolved does indeed inherent certain capacities, our virtual attractors so to speak. But the actual occasions to date, the levels so to speak, are from these virtual capacities responding to environmental conditions, which include socio-cultural conditions. Of the latter capitalism is a huge one, which co-evolved with the egoic-rational mode, and both are gravity sinks within which we are caught. This wasn't inevitable according to an ideal plan, and both can be changed given our virtual capacities can actualize differently. Still, within this gravity sink we are still strongly 'attracted' to certain views, one of which is this notion of teleos to where we are moving based on where we have been and ideal notions of First Causes (like the Causal domain).
Recall in this post that the original spiral dynamics included both our internal capacities and how they related to environmental conditions, aka endo- and exo-relations. It too recognizes that our endo-structure, or 'level', can change based on its relationships with the environment or exo-relations. And yet it too seems guided by the gravity sink of formal operations in that what came before must set the parameters for what is to come, i.e., the past actual limits the future actual, a very formop metaphysical assumption on this trajectory of past to pre-planned future. It also assumes that formop was necessary and inevitable, whereas it was contingent and occurred given particular environmental and socio-cultural conditions in certain places. It was not universally predestined, one way or the other.
Nonetheless it's here and forms a strong gravity sink that pre-determines how we move forward. If we look at current psychological, environmental and socio-cultural conditions we see an emerging P2P paradigm that is breaking with metaphysical formop. It is following another gravity sink or attractor within our virtual capacities. It too is not the inevitable outcome of what came before but it is here now. And it is perhaps not a continuation that transcends and includes what came before a la the 'deficient rational' mode but more like a Gebserian or Luhmannian discrete and autonomous system that structurally couples with the other systems via exo-relations, its own endo-structural relations emerging from new virtual capacities, themselves constructed and responsive to environments.
Not because it too was an inevitable teleos but a response to the gravity of the material structure of the internet (for one), which has indeed changed everything. And can lead us to a new promised land of distributed knowledge, wealth and health, if we but choose to progress (create teleos) in this direction, not just the next generation as in Star Trek but in Homeland Earth trek. It will not necessarily be so from some inevitable teleos, as the internet's structure is continually being manipulated by capitalism's gravity sink, most recently in the court ruling to banish net neutrality and turn it into a market's wet dream. But many more of us have had our consciousness shifted by its structure to the emerging P2P meme and can change that course if we but take action, creating a stronger gravity sink to overcome it, one more in alignment with the internet's own structure, an emerging postmetaphysical socio-cultural structure of equality and justice for all. A universal wet dream, but one of our own design. (Recall Latour's Compositionist Manifesto here.)
On a practical level, the evolution of language is relevant to the above. If we have universal, neurolinguistic human structures then we might be able to correlate this with universal human cognitive structures of the type we all go through, the usual developmental hierarchy. But there are over 5,000 languages in the world, quite a diversity, so what is universal about language and what is particular to cultures, regions, dialects? And given the ontocartographical bent, even different climates and geographies? And does that say something about English language prejudices about cognitive structures?
This recent paper suggests that "language seems to have evolved along varied, complicated paths, guided less by neurological settings than cultural circumstance." It mentions Chomsky's universal grammar, and that there may be a limited repertoire of universals but contra Chomsky they are minimal and diversity is the rule.
Recall Lakoff challenged Chomsky's universal grammar for cognitive (embodied) linguistics, of which I've made much hay. Lakoff also claims universals like image schema that he claims cross all cultures. But in this post and following there have been challenges to this view, noting that some cultural factors indeed enact different image schema. And not only that, but cultural development can via downward causation actually create new image schema that were not there originally, given brain plasticity and growth.
And this article explores how a different geography produces different sounds, influencing how languages in high altitude regions develop different sounds. It also mentions that some studies noted more vowel usage in warmer climes, though it is controversial. I'd suggest the possibility that this could also affect semantic content in adapting to different geographies. Granted this entire field of geographical linguistics is relatively new, but it is proceeding nonetheless. And given such new philosophical fields like onto-cartography it seems an interesting topic to explore.
Balder explored the possible relationship of different philosophical schools being associated with particular linguistic elements. This could also extend to how different languages themselves developed from different, or at least variations of, universal cognitive structures, themselves highly influenced by climate, elevation and a host of other geographical elements. This is not to deny we have some universal cognitive structures, but that there might not be as many as we assume given our own language. And there may indeed be differences and/or variations in those cognitive structures based on cultural difference, themselves influenced by geographical parameters. These could very well be at least some of those unconscious (and virtual in that respect) attractors to which we gravitate in forming language, culture and even cognitive structures.
This article by Sinha and de Lopez, for example, lauds Lakoff et al for going beyond Piaget's logico-mathematical modeling in formulating invariant cognitive structures, but still criticizes the former for engaging in the same "epistemic individualism" (29). And while Lakoff refuted the logico-mathematical basis of cognitive structure with an embodied structure, he also retained the notion of universal, invariant structure in individuals. The authors notes that while embodiment theories might resolve the mind-body half of the Cartesian dualism it still needs work on the individual-social half (30).
In a later section of the paper he discusses Vygotsky, who includes material functionality into the mix of image schema. And that different cultures apply this functionality differently with the consequent difference in image schema, language and cognitive structure.
“Our suggestion, then, is that a nonlinguistic sociocultural difference regarding canonical artifact use, embodied in the material cultures and exemplified in nonlinguistic cultural practices, gives rise to slightly but significantly different conceptualizations of 'containment' in the different cultures” (35-6).
Given that containment is a significant schema in forming mereological relations and extended in how we formulate levels of development, this could point to a different cognitive structure for said levels. He also notes that Vygotsky applied this to material linguistic mediators, and given the different languages that developed from different schema this also involved different semantic content (36).
The above is just one example of how the Piagetian and Wilberian (and even Lakoffian) notions of universal structure are not eliminated but certainly adjusted when we take account of the above.
I found this online journal, GeoCurrents. This article refutes one used above on ejectives in high altitudes. They do however have a section of articles on linguistic geography. Therein in notes a new publication, The Journal of Linguistic Geography, by Cambridge University Press. GeoCurrents praises it, and both indicate that at least this new field is getting serious attention.
I've also referenced Michael Kimmel in a few posts, who also explores the relationship between image schema (IS), embodiment and culture. E.g., this post and following on his Integral Review piece; this post how culture can shape IS; this post on how partner dance can blend image schema via intersubjectivity. Also recall this link to his article "Culture regained: situated and compound image schema."
I saw the movie Divergent today and it fits here for now. Therein its a caste system based on type for which one is tested. This was no doubt dreamed up by the Erudites, the intellectual class. Everyone must neatly fit into a category. If they don't they are divergent and must be killed, as those with aspects of the different categories (factions) upset the neat Order of things. Interestingly, the head Erudite thinks its human nature that must be suppressed, since it doesn't fit into their perfect abstract Order.
The protagonist, Triss, is of course divergent. Thing is, we all are a mix of these categories. Even with typologies like the Meyers-Briggs we change types over the course of our lifetimes, ofttimes more than once. Even within its typology, no one is fully in one of the types but by degrees leaning into mixes of them. Which of course depends on different life cycles, environments, social contexts, etc. All of which bring out different aspects of our mindsets and behaviors.
Bottom line for this post, consistent with my ongoing criticism of kennlingus and models like the MHC, is that both of them are dysfunctionally trying to fit round pegs into square holes, into their perfect Platonic and/or Aristotelian categories like the Erudite. And the Real is divergent.
Note: I personally have strong Erudite qualities and value them. It is not the Erudite per se that does the above, just when they lose balance with the other factions and move into dysfunction and become a dominator holon. Like the difference between real and false reason.
The problem as I see it is not the existence of categories or types or lenses, but how they're being used.
The MAJOR required shift is to recognize that real things don't belong to categories, they contain ALL the categories simultaneously, and that in particular instances (occurrences, enactments) some of these traits are going to be more manifest than others.
Call it tetra-arising or co-arising, any real thing has all four quadrants (choose whatever other meta-theorietical lens or categorization scheme of your choice). For example, to say that you're a Leo or Gemini is an over simplification. You have the entire Zodiac inside you.
So why does it seem that things can be placed into specific categories or types? It's due to the specifics of the particular semiotic enactment: WHO (epistemological pluralism) X HOW (methodological pluralism) X WHAT (ontological pluralism).
OR as I used to write:
The statements above have been made by a Unique Self through its vehicle, human personality--an amalgam of constellating complexes, carrying out this enactment from a temporally composite Kosmic Address. In other words, sometimes it's a dazzleblast and at other times it's the penalty bong.