This morning, doing research on another topic, I came across the following interesting-looking essay -- a critique of the conveyor belt metaphor in Wilber's and others' work, using L&J's work among others.

Misuse of the Potential of the Conveyor Metaphor, by Anthony Judge

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For some reason it's only loading the first 12 pages when I looked. I'll try later to see if I can load p. 13 on. For now I appreciate the notion of the 'twist' in the conveyor belt metaphor, that same twist or fold I've been applying in this thread.

Yes, I noticed also that it was taking awhile for the final pages to load.  Here is another copy of the paper.

(Reading further in the paper available at the new link above, it seems many of the author's ideas are presented only in a very sketchy way.  Since this is a draft, I wonder if the other version of the paper I linked above might be more substantial...)

I will forgo my usual complaint (that academic quibbling about the selection of metaphors and their extensional implications is next to useless) and take it as a given. In its place I will suggest Wilber's probable rebuttal... which is simply that a narrow look at one of his concepts in no sense provides the general suggestion that he is making. No doubt his many writings on the simultaneously inter-flow of ascending and descending, evolutionary and involutionary currents, could handle this notion of the "twist" and the loop like structure of ocean currents and mechanical escalator technology. Although I would, again, debate whether this acknowledgement has any practical significance beyond the masturbatory attempt to make us feel like we have taken everything into consideration.

From the MOA perspective the "mobius strip" has special significance as an indicator of the limit condition of theorizing... but it does not present a challenge or alternative to linear developmental theories. Whatever theories we develop will implicitly make use of the twisted path which in fact operates quite stably and flexibly as the same-differential between any two things. It haunts our models but does not undermine them. It haunts them because they are built universally out of mobius strips. Attempting to observe this structure has an important function but it is not a function relative to improving evolutionary stage-models at the level at which such models are appropriate.

In a recent musing on IL (The Rainbow of Failures) I considered how the failure/entropy of developmental layers needs to be incorporated in order to produce more complex new stable layers. Succeeding at a particular level and gaining surplus proficiency is not enough. The negative zone, instabilities, anxieties and frustrations of each level have special significance to the production of the subsequent level. Thus we expect that the failure or frustration of progress needs to be strategically incorporated in order to being growing a supra-progessive psychological or social framework. It seems that the escalator of Mobius is attractive in this sense... but it prevents no remarkable insight. It merely takes advantage of a common complexification mechanism involved in all production of new phases and structures.

The Ouroboros is not a leap forward in our understanding of spiritual development. It is (a) a ubiquitous property at the edge of all models (b) one of many examples of how the symbolic thwarting of a level must be incorporated in order to continue growing. In neither sense does it represent a straightforward critique of an over-simplified escalator metaphor. Such a reading also relies upon a notably narrow reading of those who make limited and populist use of escalator metaphors to communicate the general sense of a rising structural mechanism in human affairs.

Pascal:  In a recent musing on IL (The Rainbow of Failures) I considered how the failure/entropy of developmental layers needs to be incorporated in order to produce more complex new stable layers. Succeeding at a particular level and gaining surplus proficiency is not enough. The negative zone, instabilities, anxieties and frustrations of each level have special significance to the production of the subsequent level.

Like Winnicott's "good enough mothering"?

So what is the difference then between incorporating failures with Wilber's notion of the dignity and the disaster of each level? For example, he notes the dignity of modernity is in differentiating the value spheres. The disaster was their dissociation so that science became hegemonic and reduced all value spheres to its domain with the hidden representational, epistemological presupposition of complete objectivity. (Note this is one of my main criticisms in the real/false reason thread.) Postmodernism accounted for both modernity's dignities and disasters and reevaluated the other value spheres, and per Wilber their disaster was to throw out modernity's valid scientific discoveries in its domain for an aperspectival and relativistic madness. Whereupon Wilber's integral level took both the dignity and disaster of postmodernity. Granted I have my own criticisms of Wilber's integral level, but it does seem he is at least trying to do what you are describing. So how is your proposal different?

>Like Winnicott's "good enough mothering"?

Sure. Both the mother and the baby move forward only if they have some way to tolerate and enfold the obvious inadequacies of the mother relative to the baby's needs. She must try her best and use this knowledge to perform and operation upon her incompleteness. The infant must also find some way to use a relatively higher mind in order to stabilize the incompleteness of the mother... which of course can only be done if what she provides meets a bunch of the primary markers. 

Exactly, yes - the failures of the mother are generative and constructive in that sense (provided they are not so drastic and pervasive that the infant's basic needs are not met).



theurj said:

So what is the difference then between incorporating failures with Wilber's notion of the dignity and the disaster of each level? For example, he notes the dignity of modernity is in differentiating the value spheres. The disaster was their dissociation so that science became hegemonic and reduced all value spheres to its domain with the hidden representational, epistemological presupposition of complete objectivity. (Note this is one of my main criticisms in the real/false reason thread.) Postmodernism accounted for both modernity's dignities and disasters and reevaluated the other value spheres, and per Wilber their disaster was to throw out modernity's valid scientific discoveries in its domain for an aperspectival and relativistic madness. Whereupon Wilber's integral level took both the dignity and disaster of postmodernity. Granted I have my own criticisms of Wilber's integral level, but it does seem he is at least trying to do what you are describing. So how is your proposal different?

Dignity and disaster are usually discussed on a grand scale. Incorporating failures may be a similar process but it appears in countless tiny forms. There is no personal entity called Modernity to incorporate the problematic aspects of dissociated value spheres. However an individual person at Orange or any subsequent level will have outstanding moments of anxiety or concern relative to modern styles of concern like "Am I making any reasonable progress in my life?" etc. 

One might say that the "disaster" of any level stands out to the vision of a higher level. Conversely, the entropy (or whatever) of a given level is apparent to those who are experiencing from that level in any moment. They must do some kind of packing or organizing of the instability in order to free this situation up for growth. And the form of this packing might or might not resemble our general assumptions about the subsequent layer. More typical forms would be expected to arise later as the outcome or side-effect of finding some way to bind the entropy.

Fundamentally, I am not making a different proposal so much as illuminating a microcosm. In order for the individual to convert their own modernist and postmodernist entropy into a stabilized integralesque layer they will need to undergo many experiences in which these specific styles of insecurity are mixed and blended with a leading-edge cognitive intention of some kind. And even as new levels are relatively stabilized there seems to remain moments of reconnecting with the "disaster" of each previous level. These are, potentially, opportunities to increase the amount of energy that the psyche is conveyor-belting upward. 

Have you read  any of Laske's work? See for example this post and the two above it. Does this excerpt from the link relate to your concern?

"So it is this negativity of systems (such as 'theories') that I am concerned with. [...] Now of course there are two aspects we should not mingle, one is epistemic – how we know – and the other is ontological – what there is. And the dialectical assumption is that what we know – through categories and concepts – always falls short of what is, which is often expressed – e.g. by Adorno – as the NON-IDENTICAL which escapes human concepts. Therefore, he spoke of 'negative dialectics,' meaning a dialectics that honors what does not fit into concepts and thus remains non-identical.

"Now, when you look into this non-identical further, you come upon exactly those ABSENCES I spoke about above, gaps that changed thinking or real change will fill – there would be no change without absences pervading reality. This then leads to the distinction Bhaskar makes between 'reality' and 'actuality' where all that the sciences deal with is actuality but never reality which is a deeper concept. So, I guess I am looking for a developmental science – not just of humans – that can cope with Absences and is dialectical enough not to mistake actuality (which is transitory) for reality (which is violently transitory). And it seems to me that 'open systems' like a beehive or a human are transformational, and can’t be fathomed by logical or closed-systems thinking because that kind of thinking does not honor negativity (absences) which lies at the bottom of what is conventionally called 'change.'"

I am not very familiar with Laske. From a quick perusing it appears there is much to be sympathetic with -- although I find the language of going beyond "concepts" and "logical systems" etc. to be a bit disingenuous when people are seeking to improve and extend those very things. Fortunately he is also very open about acknowledging that stuff.

Now the uncovering of the non-identicals and absences within developmental theory is certainly a key component of what I have called the Metaphysics of Adjacency. The "ish" must be made into the basis of structure in order to accommodate both the same-difference of Nonduality and the implicitly divergent differential identities of all cognized beings. The concept of the non-identical which escapes concepts is the only concept upon which we can reliably justify our concepts. This has consequences for all model-builders and all critics of models.

However... how directly can the notion of Absences be used to indicate the "failures" and "fears" to which I have referred in this thread? That is a little more sketchy. In fact it is often difficult to tell in life whether negative refers to local absences or to an unpleasant quality. I have, in this thread, been using the latter meaning. Dissonant conditions, energetic instability, entropy, etc. can operate as transformational drivers whether we are languaging a positively structural model of development or whether we are hesitating and probing to see if the models are more omnidirectional, unpredictable, open-ended.

An integrative model of developmental must do all the following things

(a) make clear the fact and means by which it is creatively generalizing its structures... connecting personal and historical emergences

(b) use a form of reasoning which uses the dialectical link between contingency and necessity, between closed and open, between conceivable and inconceivable, between self-identical and self-differential, presences and absences, as its logical justification

(c) reveal how the principles of practical development (conceived both as structured and open-ended) require both successful stabilization of functional layers... and a particular kind of engagement with the failure of stabilization at those same layers. i.e. what is the role of encountering and tolerating the unpredictable and insecure elements particular to a given layer? how can these be embraced and integrated?

This last point has an interesting additional feature. If we are dealing with the "layer" that stabilizes conventional concepts, structures and identities then its local form of entropy will consist of non-identities, absences, trans-conceivables, etc. So the proponents of such things must be looked upon as partly making general claims about our overall vision AND partly indicating the specific usefulness of encountering and enfolding conceptual instability... freeing that energy for stabilization at the next more complex attractor-station available to the individual.

"Dissonant conditions, energetic instability, entropy, etc. can operate as transformational drivers."

Speaking of which, I just created a new exercise in my yoga program. The driver was pulling my right knee last night after being in an extended bad posture while kneeling in my closet in search of something. The usual yoga tricks I've learned over the years had no effect so I started to experiment with postures and techniques not in the usual yogic repertoire. And I indeed found one that rolls and torques both my hip and knee in a way to alleviate the pain and I suspect will reinforce correct alignment between them. The driver for this creation was the dissonant condition for which there was no prescribed method for dealing with it, which led to a creative solution.

This is the same dynamic I see operating in capitalism, since its progression has been into rampant inequality, corruption etc. It is this dissonant and unstable condition that is leading to new forms of governance and socio-economic structures, not just band-aids on the old structure.

Of course this only works for those with progressive worldviews; regressives just ignore the dissonance. (See this post, #12.)

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