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.
Balder: This new book may be of interest, Theopoetic Folds: Philosophizing Multifariousness. It includes chapters by Caputo, Keller, Faber and Thatamanil. Here's a chapter from the book, "Towards the Heraldic." An excerpt of the abstract:
"The first task of this chapter is to detail the qualities of a theological position identified as 'monorthodox,' articulating how it forms a worldview that is impositionally singular, rigid, and totalizing. This position is then critiqued and an alternative approach is developed as a corrective for it by means of an engagement with John Howard Yoder’s work in missiology and articulations of theopoetics and religious imagination as voiced by Stanley Hopper and Amos Wilder. This corrective position is termed a 'Heraldic' theology, and is marked by gestures of invitation, space-making, and manifoldedness, without an abandonment of truth claims. Arguments from this position recognize that the expression of a transformational experience of the Divine will be necessarily multiplicitous and communally developed: they challenge proponents of a monorthodox worldview that demand acquiescence, without, in turn, imposing a perspective others must maintain."
From a review by Becoming Integral:
"The piece by Faber presents an 'eco-theopoetics' that synthesizes Whitehead and Deleuze in a radical affirmation of wild multiplicity after the 'ecological death of God.' Moreover, 'wild' does not refer to any identity or opposition of nature or culture, but is about the necessity of our constitutive contingency in the chaosmos. Nature and humanity are put back in their place (khora), becoming 'eco-nature' and 'becoming intermezzo.'"
Excellent, Theurj! Thank you. I will add this to my reading list immediately.
Here is a free Google book preview.
From Keller's chapter and relevant to themes in this thread:
“When he collates differance with divinity […] this difference signifies a self-deconstructing otherness. Yet is does not destroy rationality, or even the categorial scheme. […] Faber in this way continues the Whiteheadian struggle to capture in language a difference between God and the world, or one and the other, without reinscribing the settled boundary between them—or erasing their difference. This differential nondualism [...] translates for him into 'God's in/difference.' One must not lose that inaudible slash, else 'in/difference' will be confused with the chilling apatheia. […] Thus 'this negative assertion paradoxically requires that because God is indeed nothing beyond all differences, God thus appears only in differences.' […] Faber's divine in/difference morphs into difference itself, the difference so radical as to be comprised by the 'essential relationality' of all differences” (190).
From Faber's chapter he notes that what is necessary “after the ecologicial death of God [is] the mystical move of becoming-animal, becoming multiplicity. This unio mystica […] [is] the consummation of all unity into the realm of multiplicity. […] It is the khoric realm of a paradox where we have to go through divergences, bifurcations, and antinomies all at once. […] In this mystical in/difference, everything is only in difference” (227-28).
Sounds quite interesting -- echoing some of the essays in Polydoxy. I've been looking for an e-version (Nook, Kindle) but it doesn't look like it is available yet.
I'm making some associations from the Faber quote that I don't think he makes, but not sure since I don't have access to the whole chapter. In keeping with the theme of this thread I find the expression 'becoming animal' interesting. It is associated with the kinds of folds I've been discussing, like folding back 'down' into our animal base awareness with our human capacity for detached observation, which creates states of 'unio mystica.' And upon reentering so-called gross egoic consciousness this can lead to the kind of ontological notions of paradoxical, nondual and postmetaphysical khora. I say 'can lead' but it doesn't necessarily do so, since without the proper frame(s) (right view) many often interpret such states metaphysically or dualistically.
Which reminds me of the objet a of Bryant's Borromean (integral) theory, another one with manifolds. From this post and following:
This interative process of differance is, as I noted, the heart of the Borromean diagram. It is in the interplay of objet a with the 3 methodologies that produces not only change but progress through a spiral dynamical process. No, we never fully arrive at full consciousness of this unmarked, withdrawn or virtual ‘space’ (khora), for it too, being immanent and constructed, also develops and grows given development in the actually manifest domains. In a sense one expression of it is the cognitive unconscious of humans. We can never know it fully and yet we do make inroads and open it just a bit more with each advance. Hence I take Flanagan’s criticism of ‘consciousness’ (in the Thompson thread) as sometimes too focused on the marked space of what we are aware, and how we often mistake this for the unmarked space beyond its reach and thus confuse it with an ultimate and transcendent realm.
To assure myself I'm not completely off track I offer this excerpt from Zizek's "A place for a return to differance," Zizek being a close reader of Lacan.
"Objet a is therefore close to the Kantian transcendental object, since it stands for the unknown x, the noumenal core of the object beyond appearances, for what...can thus be defined as a pure parallax object.... More precisely, the object a is the very CAUSE of the parallax gap, that unfathomable X which forever eludes the symbolic grasp and thus causes the multiplicity of symbolic perspectives. The paradox is here a very precise one: it is at the very point at which a pure difference emerges—a difference which is no longer a difference between two positively existing objects, but a minimal difference which divides one and the same object from itself—that this difference 'as such' immediately coincides with an unfathomable object: in contrast to a mere difference between objects."
With Faber's eco-theopoetics, he is dancing with the Prepositional goddess, for sure:
"Eco-consciousness and eco-conscience have an ethical and a spiritual dimension. Both
can be characterized as 'always beginning in the middle.' Deleuze formulates this new
categoreal imperative of eco-ethics as letting 'your loves be like the wasp and the orchid' and,
without beginning and end, as being 'always in the middle, between things, interbeing,
intermezzo' (Deleuze/Guattari, Rhizome 17). To begin in the middle always means to follow
multiplicities in their deconstructive complexity within and without, to unsettle the boundaries
and clear borders of forced identities, which are always imposed measures of the One with its
power-installed abstractions of unification and division. To begin in the middle is an ethical
category that activates us from the middle of the happening of multiplicities and asks us to
always submerge into their middle, the many folds of connectivity within and beyond, which
always form under the skin of powers of unification and division and only come to life within,
across and beyond the boundaries of power. To become inter-being, we need to leave the high
states of unity to become actors of the folds within unties between their moments of
unifications, and between unities in the middle of their artificial isolation. To become 'in
between' means to become intermezzo, that is, less than the abstract unifications that always
feed the Anthropic Imperialism over nature, culture, and (human) Self. It means to become
Which reminds me of this post on image schematic basic categories, following. If you get the book let me know if Faber relates any of this to image schemata.
"So our basic categories are embodied in image schemas that arise from our interactions with the world. Recall that one characteristic of these basic categories is the part-whole gestalt, aka hierarchy. Since image schemas and basic categories operate below conscious attention we’ve come to assume that they are inherent to the world themselves and thus project this notion of 'natural hierarchy,' with its most developed forms in Aristotelian nested, categorical hierarchies. All of which assumes a basic, particular and inherent 'constituent' as foundation at the bottom and/or a general and inherent 'being' as foundation at the top. Meanwhile the process actually begins in the middle of the classical taxonomy and we get more specific 'downward' and more general 'upward' from there on a useful but constructed hierarchy."
The Faber quote also reminds me of some past posts, like this one:
Here's an excerpt from a relevant article by Evan Thompson called "From intersubjectivity to interbeing":
Human consciousness is not located in the head, but is immanent in the living body and the interpersonal social world. One’s consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual embedded in the world emerges through empathic cognition of others. Consciousness is not some peculiar qualitative aspect of private mental states, nor a property of the brain inside the skull; it is a relational mode of being of the whole person embedded in the natural environment and the human social world.
How can phenomenological methods and contemplative practices deepen and guide scientific research on intersubjective consciousness?
A deep understanding of intersubjectivity requires an understanding of empathy as the basic mode of experience in which one relates to others and understands their experiences. Empathy is developmental and opens up pathways to self-transcendent or non-egocentric modes of "interbeing."
Real progress in the understanding of intersubjectivity requires a "science of interbeing" that integrates the methods of cognitive science, Phenomenology, and contemplative and meditative psychologies.
Also since I mentioned the phrase "becoming animal" from Faber, as well as the term interbeing, also recall this thread on that topic. A brief quote:
"This is a book about becoming a two-legged animal, entirely a part of the animate world whose life swells within and unfolds all around us. It seeks a new way of speaking, one that enacts our interbeing with the earth rather than blinding us to it. A language that stirs a new humility in relation to other earthborn beings, whether spiders or obsidian outcrops or spruce limbs bend low by the clumped snow. A style of speech that opens our senses to the sensuous in all its multiform strangeness."