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 to reiterate Levin from this post, pp. 47-8 of The Opening of Vision, on the various bodies:
5, the ontological body: This is a hermeneutical body because i) it is accessible only through hermeneutical phenomenology and ii) it is itself hermeneutical, i.e., disclosive of the presencing of being.
4, the transpersonal body: This is our ancestral body, the ancient body of our collective unconscious, that dimension of our bodily being through which we experience our connectedness with all sentient beings, our participation in nature's organic processes, and the cessation of our total identification with the conventional time and space of our socialized ego. Religions use ceremonies and rituals to schematize and bring forth such a body.
3, the ego-logical body: This is the civil body, socially constituted in the economy of a body politic. It is personal and interpersonal, and consists in masks, roles, habits, routines, and social practices. It is formed through child-rearing practices, education and participation in social structures.
2, the pre-personal body: This body is pre-civil and pre-egological. It is the body of the infant and child: a body adults still carry with them, however split off it might be; a body which adults can retrieve through memory or a relaxation of defenses, letting it take part in life involuntarily and spontaneously.
1, the primordial body: This is the wild body, the dreambody, the animal body, the body of nature, the vegetative body rooted in the earth. This body can only be invoked with the language of metaphors, symbols, stories, legends, fairy tales, myths, poetry and dreams. This body is both pre-egological and pre-ontologial. It carries around with it a dark, implicate pre-understanding of Being: a subsidiary guardian awareness of the meaningfulness of Being.
Development from stage 1 to 3 is normal and typically completed when the child becomes an adult. Stages 4 and 5, however, represent stages of individual development that require special effort, commitment, and maturity. Stages 1 and 2 are basically biological. Stage 3 is distinctively cultural.... The ego-logical body is the body shaped according to the ego's image of itself. But stages 4 and 5 go beyond what society requires. We might call them 'spiritual' stages.
Normal development (stages 1-3) is always, more or less, a linear progression, but the progression beyond 3 is not; it is essentially hermeneutical, involving a return, a turning into the body of experience, to retrieve a present sense of the earlier stages. Beyond 3 it is necessary to go 'backwards' in order to go 'forwards.' Stage 3 is the moment when, for the first time, this return and retrieval is possible."
Even though I mentioned Weiss in this post I didn't provide the material upon which I based my analysis. Hence it follows from this post. My only reservation is that the structures are "a latent possibility or inherent disposition within Origin," a decidedly metaphysical proposition of the kind not conducive to postmetaphysics. I.e. a transcendent v. transcendental metaphysics.
The following excerpt is about Eric Weiss, “Jean Gebser: the mutation of structures of consciousness” presented at Esalen’s CTR first annual invitational conference on evolutionary metaphysics, December 2006.
"To read Gebser in a Hegelian manner, as Ken Wilber does with his popular slogan 'transcend and include,' is, in a sense, to grasp the letter of Gebser while missing the living spirit of his work. Gebser himself discussed the limits of the famous Hegelian dialectic. He said that because mental thought tends to be dichotomizing, it necessitates the generation of a third term to move toward reconciliation. But even this third term (the Hegelian 'synthesis') is in turn split again as the overall process marches onward. Gebser saw this dialectic as an unsatisfying expression of the deficient phase of the mental structure of consciousness (which will be described below). Overall, Weiss wanted to be clear that Gebser's thought should not be mistaken for a new version of Hegelianism, nor should it be reduced to it, and in his own life Gebser tried to distance himself from Hegel's work.
"Weiss said that Gebser was clear that his work did not describe a linear evolution, development, or progress of consciousness. Instead, he claimed that the process described in book The Ever-Present Origin was more complex and nuanced. Gebser used the term 'mutation'to describe the process of moving from one consciousness structure to another, but this was not intended to reduce the development of consciousness to a biological metaphor. Rather, he used this term to emphasize the discontinuous nature of the various structures of consciousness. The word 'mutation' connotes the sense of a leap that is more sudden in comparison to the gradualism of Darwin's biological evolution. Gebser viewed each structure of consciousness as a latent possibility or inherent disposition within Origin – i.e., within the ultimate origin of all that is. He saw humanity as naturally predisposed to the discontinuous transformations that have taken place during the course of history and pre-history. But crucially for Gebser, the later mutations do not 'transcend and include,' as in Wilber's model of evolution. Instead, they are discontinuous and autonomous modes of awareness, each of which has its own intrinsic validity, and for which the perception and appearance of time and space are radically different."
Morin: "From the concept of system to the paradigm of complexity." Sound familiar?
"As the concept of system now stands, though it is embedded in a general theory ('general system theory'), it does not constitute a paradigmatic principle; rather, the principle invoked is that of holism, which seeks explanation at the level of the totality, in opposition to the reductionist paradigm that seeks explanation at the level of elementary components. As I shall demonstrate, however, this 'holism' arises from the same simplifying principle as the reductionism to which it is opposed (that is, a simplification of, and reduction to, the whole)" (1).
"We should conceive of systems not only in terms of global unity...but in terms of a unitas multiplex; here again, antagonistic terms are necessarily coupled. The whole is effectively a macro-unity, but the parts are not fused or confused therein; they have a double identity, one which continues to belong to each of them individually (and is thus irreducible to the whole), and one which is held in common (constituting, so to speak, their citizenship in the system)" (3).
"'Progress' does not necessarily consist in the construction of larger and larger wholes; on the contrary, it may lie in the freedom and independence of small components. The richness of the universe is not found in its dissipative totality, but in the small reflexive entities-the deviant and peripheral units-which have self-assembled within it....The whole is less than the whole. Within every whole there are penumbras and mutual incomprehensions-indeed schisms and rifts between the repressed and the expressed, the submerged and the emergent, the generative and the phenomenal. There are black holes at the heart of every biological totality, especially every anthropo-social totality.... If one places this conception...at the very heart of the system paradigm, then this paradigm opens out spontaneously onto the modern theories of the individual unconscious (Freud) and the social unconscious (Marx)" (4-5).
And I might add, the withdrawn.
"Also, we must found the idea of system on a non-totalitarian and non-hierarchical concept of the whole, and, more particularly, on a complex concept of the unitas multiplex as a means of access to poly totalities. This preliminary paradigm is, in fact, of capital social and political importance. The paradigm of holistic simplification leads to a neo-totalitarian functionalism and accommodates itself easily to all the modem forms of totalitarianism. In any event, it leads to the manipulation of the individual units in the name of the whole" (6).
"The problem is not to create a general theory covering everything.... Rather, the problem is to consider...all aspects of reality...in the light of the complexity of system and organization."
"Holism becomes a new kind of reductionism by reducing everything to the whole."
"We begin to catch a glimpse of a new form of rationality....[that] allows us to perceive not only the fish but the ocean as well--that is to say, that which can never be caught."
"The system paradigm demands that we master...the desire for mastery." (13-14)
Also see this article by Sean Kelly, "From the complexity of consciousness to the consciousness of complexity." The abstract:
"This paper explores the fruitfulness of Edgar Morin’s articulation of the principles of complex thinking for contemporary reflection on the nature of consciousness. Following some preliminary remarks on Teilhardde Chardin’s understanding of the connection between complexity and consciousness, I turn to Ken Wilber’s 'all quadrant, all level' assessment of the field of consciousness studies. While acknowledgingthe value of Wilber’s assessment, I argue that his hermeneutic principles of 'holarchical integration' (which he adapts from Koestler’s notion of the 'holon') and 'simultracking' fall short in accounting for thecomplex character of the relation between 'levels’ (e.g., brain and mind) and 'quadrants' (e.g., individualand culture). Such an accounting is possible, however, when informed by the notions of recursivity,dialogic, and holography--Morin’s three principles of complex thinking. I conclude with the suggestion thatthese principles can be taken as expressions, in the cognitive mode, of the next main phase in the evolutionof consciousness following the full deployment of formal operational thinking (Piaget), a phase variouslydescribed as post-formal, 'integral consciousness' (Gebser), and 'vision logic' (Wilber)."
In the above article we see the recurrent themes of this thread. For example, the relationship of two poles in a dichotomy is dialogic rather than dialectic, i.e., they retain their autonomy yet are inseparable from the other yet are not subsumed in a higher synthesis. Which of course applies to the sort of mereology one employs, holographic (Morin) or holarchical (Wilber). Morin is much more aligned with the strange mereology of OOO. Kelly sees Wilber's variety as idealistic, a criticism I've expounded at length. And Kelly, like me, thinks that all this plays into how we interpret what an integral 'level' even means.
“Transpersonal psychology and the paradigm of complexity” by Sean Kelly:
“Wilber’s paradigm is insufficiently spiced, as it were, with the essential ingredients of complex thinking. His understanding of holarchical integration (the higher includes the lower) gives expression to only half of the holographic principle (which implies that the lower also includes the higher). […] Vision-logic, as Wilber conceives of it, is more or less identical with the Hegelian dialectic and its process of 'sublation' (aufheben). Morin [...] faults Hegel for considering contradiction a transitory 'moment' of the Aufhebung, a moment which is ultimately annulled in the 'synthesis' of the third term (see Morin 1982, 289). 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.”
And this one is of relevance to the general theme of the forum:
“And yet Morin does recognize that, though the human condition is irrevocably 'this worldly and bound to the fate of the Earth,' it nonetheless 'also involves a quest for the beyond. Not a beyond outside of the world, but a beyond relative to the hic et nunc, to misery and misfortune, an unknown beyond that is proper to the unknown adventure' (ibid., 135). It is in this sense of transcendence as an immanent 'beyond' that Morin is able to envision the possibility, and even the necessity, of a third type of religion—not a religion of salvation, but a religion of fellowship, freedom, and love. [...] Such a religion 'would be without revelation (like Buddhism), a religion of love (like Christianity), of compassion (like Buddhism), although without the salvation of the immortal/risen self or deliverance through the dissipation of self.'”
it is interesting that those who hail grof as some giant, do consistently ignore the ancient knowledge of
the practise with breath in all higher vajrayana for example ,also called dza lung tigle or channels prana and kundalini work and they also ignore the very sophisticated knowledge of techniques of inducing total visions due to sensory deprivation existing inside the tögal and yangti teachings in the dzog chen ,which of course also has all the dza lung tigle knowledge. i met grof personally , i have moved more the a decade inside the transpersonal scene , doing that work , becoming and still being a therapists myself, of one transpersonal body method, BUT the richness i found inside the dzog chen teachings dwarfs absolutly everything that the west has ever dreamed up !
and by the way : the tögal teachings are those that giant ken dismisses as old superstition in his IS book, : ),
what a preposterous dick !
"The author goes on to trace the role of spatial and temporal image schemata in the formulation of models of the psyche and its relation to spirit or the transpersonal."
Part I discusses James and Jung, part II Wilber and Grof. This will be interesting.
From part II:
"The theory must be able to accommodate the twists and turns, the foldings, overlappings, and 'weaving together' of the preformal with the post- or transformal [...] that are not immediately evident in the more straightforward metaphors [...] that otherwise inform the concepts of development and evolution."
My twist on part II is, as I've often stated, that the Lingam abstracts and thereby metaphysicalizes the image schema, where the 'higher' is vertically better, and more inclusive since it 'contains' the lower. Whereas I see the schema as coming from the middle out and thus integrating the abstract extremes of up/down, in/out via the fold.
"The term 'general economy' is perhaps not the best one to use. An 'open,' 'folded' or 'excessive' economy may be [better] terms. [...] In this regard, the general economy acknowledges the 'foldedness' of the system in its relationship to the outside" (74-5).
The footnote to the above on 75-6 sounds a lot like Bryant, where a system's boundaries are porous, both open and closed. This makes a clear distinction between in/out impossible and hence the fold. Nonetheless, the boundary exists and thereby differentiates between internal and external relations, between system and environment. It's like Morton's Rift earlier in the thread.
This is interesting, from the SEP entry on Deleuze:
"In his mature work, Deleuze argues for an 'impersonal and pre-individual' transcendental field in which the subject [...] is itself the result or product of differential passive syntheses. [...] The passive syntheses responsible for subject formation must be qualified as 'differential,' for three reasons. Each passive synthesis is serial, never singular (there is never one synthesis by itself, but always a series of 'contractions,' that is to say, experience is ongoing and so our habits require constant 'updating'); each series is related to other series in the same body (at the most basic level, for instance, the series of taste contractions is related to those of smell, sight, touch, hearing and proprioception); and each body is related to other bodies, which are themselves similarly differential (the series of syntheses of bodies can resonate or clash). Together the passive syntheses at all these levels form a differential field within which subject formation takes place as an integration or resolution of that field; in other words, subjects are roughly speaking the patterns of these multiple and serial syntheses which fold in on themselves producing a site of self-awareness."