Tim Winton's The Meaning of Planetary Civilization: Integral Rational Spirituality and the Semiotic Universe (download here) is the next paper up for discussion.  Since we had already begun discussing it earlier on this forum, before beginning the systematic review of ITC papers, I'll start this unconventionally and will open with a few relevant posts from that discussion.

DavidM58 raised the following questions about the paper (see his full post here), which I think are good orienting questions for discussion:

1) As Balder summarized [in a discussion of Integral Semiotics], "he [Winton] finds that both Wilber and Bhaskar fall short of embodying, in their actual theoretical constructs, the nonduality they espouse -- subtly privileging the epistemological or ontological domains, respectively." Do you agree?

2) What do you think of his "methodogolical" solution rather than a metaphysical one, following Morin?

3) Do the diagrams signifying Semiotic Enactment make sense (figures 4 and 5)?

4) There's been discussion here about the interpretation of Pierce's foundational categories, but I'm wondering if you think that broadly speaking Tim has effectively "located a realist approach to pansemiotics."

5) Do you agree with the statement on p. 31 that "The advantage of this type of pansemiotics over Wilber's Whiteheadian panpsychism is that thought (subjective interiority, psych or 'mind') does not need to be carried down into the physical domain to do duty as a partner to material and efficient causes to explain the self-organizing capacity of an early evolving universe." ?

6) What do you make of what I see as a ground-breaking stance regarding the role of energy, drawing from Stanley N. Salthe and Howard T. Odum's Maximum Power Principle? ("In order to exist, dissipative systems are driven to continually invest their harvested energy in complexifying (increase their energy quality) in order to maximize their rate of continuing to harvest that energy flow. Their very evolutionary persistent existence (sustainability) depends on it." p.34) And "Could the 'aliveness' of energy and its proclivity to 'wind up' not be our source of telos or final cause, which is ultimately to return to its own nondual source?" (p. 35)

7) What do you make of the comments on p. 37 that "Within iSR [integral Semiotic Realism] nondual realization is not signified as a spiritual realization: it is signified as Realization itself. iSR takes the pragmatiasist route and (all other references being equal) rejects a 'spiritual' signification of the nondual by virtue of its effects."

8) Does Rupert Sheldrake's morphic fields effectively fill the role of a convincing naturalistic means of 'formal cause'?

9) Finally, would you agree that the destructive pathology of modernity is largely due to the "lack of  a cosmology that demonstrates a place and a belonging in the universe in a way that is convincing and meaningful within the rational paradigm of modernity," and do you see the possibility that iSR might have the capability "to provide a  Grand Story that has the capacity to unify, while respecting the diversity of, the major worldviews". (p. 43)

And here are my initial responses to the first five of the questions:

1) As Balder summarized, "he [Winton] finds that both Wilber and Bhaskar fall short of embodying, in their actual theoretical constructs, the nonduality they espouse -- subtly privileging the epistemological or ontological domains, respectively." Do you agree?

Yes, I think mostly so, though I appear to have a somewhat different take on their relation to each other.  I definitely agree that viewing them together, in a complementary way, is fruitful (drawing, respectively, on the strengths of their epistemological and ontological models).

2) What do you think of his "methodogolical" solution rather than a metaphysical one, following Morin?

I'm sympathetic to it; this is the strategy of Francisco Varela, as well.  However, I sometimes feel (following a formulation by Joel Morrison) that this discussion is hampered because it makes insufficient distinctions.  For instance, it is helpful to distinguish the ontic and epistemic from ontolology and epistemology.  In this view, ontology and epistemology are both actually ways and forms of knowing (-ologies); and as "ways," they are naturally co-implicated in "methodology."  But as ways of knowing, they both operate on the "plane" or in the field of the epistemic.  Epistemology and ontology inhabit a horizontal relationship (which Winton's model also depicts), but the epistemic and ontic inhabit a vertical relationship:  the epistemic transcends and includes (and thus necessarily requires/presupposes) the ontic.  As Joel puts it, the -ic suffix is an indicator of a domain of the "real" (meaning both ontic and epistemic domains are real), just as the -ology suffix indicates a domain of knowledge, i.e. a divisions within the epistemic.  When this differentiation isn't made, I think you run the risk of various forms of conflation (such as I discuss below).

I plan to explore this more fully later in a more developed exploration of possible intersections of Bhaskarian and Wilberian thought (with Morrison's model as one possible means of interface).

3) Do the diagrams signifying Semiotic Enactment make sense (figures 4 and 5)?

I'd like to hear if you have any specific questions about either.  In general, yes, both make sense to me.  At first blush (to me), it appears they could be seen as mapping perspectival / epistemic systems (at Bhaskar's level of the empirical), and not (yet) touching on the domain of the real (at least as Bhaskar or OOO would define it).

4) There's been discussion here about the interpretation of Pierce's foundational categories, but I'm wondering if you think that broadly speaking Tim has effectively "located a realist approach to pansemiotics."

This is one of the questions where I'm going to have to return to the paper to review it more carefully before I'll feel confident answering it.  Yes, I think he has made valuable and promising steps towards a realist semiotics (especially as he connects it to energy and the fourth law of thermodynamics).  However, I'm not convinced (yet) by his depiction of semiotic realism in Figure 7.  I can see how his model depicts the Bhaskarian domains of the empirical and the actual, but I'm not sure if his identification of "semiotic," "intransitive domain," and "zone of subsistence" at the center of the circle works.  For instance, I don't think an easy identification can be made between Bhaskar's intransitive domain and Wilber's zone of subsistence (although Wilber suggests that), since Wilber still largely defines the latter in epistemic terms.  (I can give support for this claim in another post.)  Similarly, I'm not yet sure the identification of semiotic with the nondual and Bhaskar's intransitive domain works.  I really appreciate and resonate with what he is attempting, but my recent excursions through SR and OOO leave me with some questions about some of the identifications he is making.  I will take some more time with this and will respond more later.

5) Do you agree with the statement on p. 31 that "The advantage of this type of pansemiotics over Wilber's Whiteheadian panpsychism is that thought (subjective interiority, psych or 'mind') does not need to be carried down into the physical domain to do duty as a partner to material and efficient causes to explain the self-organizing capacity of an early evolving universe." ?

I am sympathetic with this view, yes.  I have some open questions on this, myself, but I think what he is suggesting here is pretty much how OOO handles this: autopoietic "translation" happens ubiquitously among objects, but this is not always "psychic" or "cognitive" -- it can be energetic / material, for instance.  Wilber doesn't always define himself as a panpsychist either; sometimes he has referred to his model as pansemiotic, instead.

 

 

 

Views: 983

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Excellent! I look forward to watching another video about imaginary watermelons! (and the Bohm article looks really interesting (but long)).

6) What do you make of what I see as a ground-breaking stance regarding the role of energy, drawing from Stanley N. Salthe and Howard T. Odum's Maximum Power Principle? ("In order to exist, dissipative systems are driven to continually invest their harvested energy in complexifying (increase their energy quality) in order to maximize their rate of continuing to harvest that energy flow. Their very evolutionary persistent existence (sustainability) depends on it." p.34) And "Could the 'aliveness' of energy and its proclivity to 'wind up' not be our source of telos or final cause, which is ultimately to return to its own nondual source?" (p. 35)

OK, this part of the paper is the most interesting for me (as you can see, I called it "ground breaking" above. Before reading the paper, I was not familiar with Stanley Salthe, but I have been a huge fan of Howard T. Odum for several years. Odum is highly regarded for his pioneering work in the field of systems ecology - he co-wrote with his brother Eugene the first textbook on ecology, published 9 years before Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1953. Odum's concept of "emergy" as a way of quantifying energy quality has remained controversial, in different quarters for different reasons, as are his ideas about a 4th and 5th law of thermodynamics. Personally, I think these are accurate and hugely useful concepts. 

Energy is what makes any process "go," so it makes eminent sense that it would be involved in final cause; I think it was brilliant that Tim substitutes Odum's Maximum Power Principle for Salthe's idea of thermodynamic equilibrium as final cause. "Could it not be that the fundamental tendency of the cosmos is to expand a huge amount of energy quantity that will transform into smaller but more complex scalar holarchies of evolving energy quality?"

I'm a bit surprised Salthe himself can't see this more logical explanation, but that's the subject of another comment.

7) What do you make of the comments on p. 37 that "Within iSR [integral Semiotic Realism] nondual realization is not signified as a spiritual realization: it is signified as Realization itself. iSR takes the pragmatisist route and (all other references being equal) rejects a 'spiritual' signification of the nondual by virtue of its effects."

I'm still trying to fully comprehend this, and its implications. Tim says one effect of a spiritual signification of the nondual is that "it entrains a subtle dualism" which alienates modern sensibilities and interferes with the development of ultimate meaning. And so, "modernity is providing the evolutionary requirement to transcend significations of spirituality that do not have the capacity to be meaningful for all worldviews."

I can understand the reasoning behind this statement: "spirituality is not privileged in relation to the nondual."  But this statement has me a bit puzzled: "spirit and spirituality, are only significant within the transpersonal, post-formal domains..."

8) Does Rupert Sheldrake's morphic fields effectively fill the role of a convincing naturalistic means of 'formal cause'?

Yes, for me this works. Sheldrake should be familiar to integralites, as the idea of Kosmic Habits apparently grew out of his ideas on morphic fields/morphic resonance. A related tangent came up for me - can emergy be playing a role in morphic resonance? Sheldrake says it "does not involve a transfer of energy from one system to another, but rather a non-energetic transfer of information." What is information, but the memory of a process that used energy to transform into something of higher quality - emergy.

9) Finally, would you agree that the destructive pathology of modernity is largely due to the "lack of  a cosmology that demonstrates a place and a belonging in the universe in a way that is convincing and meaningful within the rational paradigm of modernity," and do you see the possibility that iSR might have the capability "to provide a  Grand Story that has the capacity to unify, while respecting the diversity of, the major worldviews". (p. 43)

This is not an uncommon theme. Some would say that the Cartesian/Newtonian paradigm is the cause of the destructive pathology of modernity, and we need a new paradigm. Wilber said it was a split between art, morals, and science, and we need a new integration. Thomas Berry (and Brian Swimme) said we need A New Story.

Tim Winton says "The aim is to provide a Grand Story that has the capacity to unify, while respecting the diversity of the major worldviews. This will only happen if that story can be interpreted in such a way that allows each worldview to find ultimate meaning that is not exclusive of the way any of the others do the same."

It is a tall order. A brief outline of strategy is provided on page 39:
"The strategy must be two-fold: attract people to integral and equip them to work deeply within modernity with a way of being, a cosmology, and a spirituality that engages modernity in a deeply meaningful way."

I think what Tim is suggesting is that rather than standing on the outside trying to convince (proselytize?) modernity to adopt a new paradigm, we need to meet modernity where it's at and engage with it deeply on its own terms with a cosmology that it can resonate with in order to encourage a healthier expression and its own ultimate developmental step to the next level.

"By integrating the shadow of modernity, its ultimate gift to humanity and its ultimate promise, the light of reason, is liberated to generate its own maturity as the realization of an integral world."

Re-reading the paper yesterday, one set of questions and responses that arose for me relates to your seventh question, David:

7) What do you make of the comments on p. 37 that "Within iSR [integral Semiotic Realism] nondual realization is not signified as a spiritual realization: it is signified as Realization itself. iSR takes the pragmatiasist route and (all other references being equal) rejects a 'spiritual' signification of the nondual by virtue of its effects."

This question doesn't highlight the central question that stood out for me, but it is connected to it.  I'm personally interested in the spiritual dimensions of Tim's proposal, as you might guess (given my administration of a forum with this name), but also because I've published a few papers on Integral postmetaphysical and translineage spirituality in the past.

First, to address your question:  I would like to know more what Tim means by "Realization itself" (in contrast to spiritual realization).  I can read this as referring just to the fundamental mechanism behind, or source of, all forms of realization, however we "realize" various capacities and understandings and ways of being in ourselves throughout our course of development.  Or I can read it as standing for a unique, full-bodied realization of our basic nature (the nondual ground), an ultimate or elemental sort of "coming into fullness" or wholeness, which Tim does not want to identify simply with "spirit" (since it is "natural" or "basic," and not just a subjective or esoteric mystical condition).  I think of the former based on Bhaskar's treatment of nonduality -- the "everyday nonduality" that facilitates all relationship, communication, etc.  But Tim's capitalization of the term suggests something more like the latter: signifying something still singular and profound.  Likely he means a mix of both.  But in any case, whether he means the second option, or both together, this isn't really that different (in my opinion) from what a number of contemplative traditions mean by nondual realization anyway: they also would want to avoid limiting it exclusively to a term like "spiritual," which is actually alien to these traditions.  Such a Realization would still be a "spiritual realization," in the sense that it is the "coming home to basic nature" that is sought by nominally "spiritual" traditions; but it aims to avoid (understandably) the subtle dualisms that often accompany common articulations of this realization in many spiritual circles.  Without getting into discussion of what is meant by "nondual realization" and "basic nature," I support and agree with what I believe is Tim's guiding motivation here (especially if we aim, as he does, to directly address and interface with post/modern culture).

The main question that stood out for me, reading this section of the paper, was whether it really is a good, strategic move to limit signification of "spirit" and "spiritual" to what he calls the post-formal, transpersonal theospheric and kosmospheric developmental stages.  I believe he may be coming from Wilber's postmetaphysical-enactive orientation on this point, where the meaning of the signified (spirit) is tied to its means of enactment (in this case, particular contemplative disciplines or injunctions which enact subtle and causal forms of realization).  But, in my view, while I also share a basically postmetaphysical and enactive orientation, this seems to be a bit of an unnecessary step back from the broader (and post/modern-friendly) exposition of "spirituality" Wilber has already offered:  where "spiritual" is recognized to have multiple significations:

(1) spirituality involves peak experiences or altered states, which can occur at almost any stage and any age;
(2) spirituality involves the highest levels in any of the lines;
(3) spirituality is a separate developmental line itself (see Fowler, for instance);
(4) spirituality is an attitude (such as openness, trust, or love) that the self may or may not have at any stage.
(5) spirituality is the sum total of the highest stages of developmental lines.

Given the already speculative and metaphysical-sounding nature of the "theosphere" and "kosmosphere," which he acknowledges is still something of a challenge to "sell" to modernists, I think using Wilber's constellation of signifieds would actually be a better strategy (for achieving Tim's expressed aims).  Limiting the significance of the term only to rarely achieved (and, for the modernist, still-in-question) stages of development would also seem to run counter to the "call" of modernity Tim names to transcend significations of spirituality that do not have the capacity to be meaningful in and for all worldviews.

There are also quite a few new, "rational" (Orange-plus) framings of spirituality that are emerging, in quite a few places, so it would seem useful to align with and help cultivate and promote these various approaches (some of which we have explored here, including David Michael Levin's embodied phenomenological-hermeneutic "practices of the Self"; Sloterdijk's focus on self-transformative practice in You Must Change Your Life; and many other examples, which can be discussed later).

Here's another video - Tim's PatternDynamics Intro talk.



And an audio file from 2006 of Tim's early thinking on PD :  Foundations of PatternDynamics

Balder,

Very good. You've actually articulated more accurately my own concerns around question 7, which turn out to be more about limiting the signification of spirit than anything else. I like what you've said here.

 I am working my way into the paper and will contribute what I can asap :)

Excellent!  Nice to see you here again, Glistening Deepwater...

My thoughts so far, many of which are questions in themselves, I am taking a forst pass here, and will likely have more to say as I progress. Meanwhile I will read through some of the other threads as continue to traverse the document:

1) As Balder summarized [in a discussion of Integral Semiotics], "he [Winton] finds that both Wilber and Bhaskar fall short of embodying, in their actual theoretical constructs, the nonduality they espouse -- subtly privileging the epistemological or ontological domains, respectively." Do you agree?

I need to ask; how/does enactment=epistemology (p.13)?

I will say here that I don't believe it is possible to achieve a genuinely "post-metaphysical" position, unless one has a tightly constrained definition of metaphysics (as Wilber does, according to him - at least in answer to my pointed inquiries during the pilot program delivery of his advanced 'core-integral' materials through Clint Fuchs and Ali Akalin) and uses that as a straw man rather than work to expand the territory. For the full scope of what metaphysics (as a philosophical science) actually represents, it will continue to be a useful and necessary foundation for explorations into the 'nature of reality' in the foreseeable future IMHO.

Also, is dualism actually unnecessary (p.15)? What proof do we have that any interactions or processes whatsoever could occur in the absence of fundamental duality? I think there is a conflation of duality with conflict subtly infiltrating the discourse at this point.

Nonduality can be understood a context in which duality arises.

(btw, the term rationale has an 'e' on the end)


2) What do you think of his "methodogolical" solution rather than a metaphysical one, following Morin?

Worth experimenting with, as it seems a more embodied approach and likley to be relevant to the manifest context in which we currently find ourselves (as sentient organic entities) with a greater degree of immediacy than metaphysical theorising can without moving into the realms of abstraction and then manifesting through virtuality and simulation trials.


3) Do the diagrams signifying Semiotic Enactment make sense (figures 4 and 5)?

Figure 4, to my mind, alludes to the streams of communication (processural interaction) between manifest entities, and the ongoing, mutually interdependant nature of such, where the exchange of raw data is interpretable by the entities involved, this process may lead to complexification (exploration of the possibilities within the interpretation space) before simplification (mutual understanding, insight, accord, enactment) can arise/occur.

Figure 5 seems to be illustrating the structural embeddedness of the interacting entities in the context of the manifest realm.

btw - we did take the first step in engaging and applying the pattern dynamics language here:

http://metacogs.wordpress.com/

Hi, Glistening, regarding your comments on post-metaphysics:  a number of us have come to a similar position here, if I follow what you are saying.  I don't see post-metaphysics as a repudiation of metaphysics (which I consider as still essential).  It critiques certain trends within classical metaphysics, but does not leave metaphysics behind.  It is "metaphysics after the postmodern turn," so to speak (or at least still a willing consort of Sophia).

Bruce, David, theurj and Glistening (good to meet here as well, Glistening!) - a live opportunity for 'application' comes to mind based on the many appropriate references to PD by you all in this thread.

So here is the opportunity brief: 

How can the pattern language and principles be employed to achieve perspectival harmony and generativity in the numerous forum squabbles on facebook, leveraging its meta-typological capabilities? The most crying need appears to be in the AQAL Integral scholars forum. David and theurj, not sure if you are in that forum, but Bruce and Glistening know what I am referring to - essentially there is an eruption of ideological friction, evident inadequacy of conventional language to dissolve solidified positions, a 'Schelling Segregation Model' type polarization of individual differences to a disintegration of sorts in the we-space (which may be eventually beneficial, who knows, but that's a separate point), and lots of emotional bruises. 

 

This real-life, contemporary project opportunity is relevant for this year's paper as well (under discussion here), which seeks to define a meaningful cosmology for modernity and post modernity who haven't yet stably accessed the trans-conceptual realms of second tier. As is evident from the forum, there is a fair bit of variation (and diversity) in the COG variable, both in an aggregate and cognitive and self-identity lines sense. Having said that, one can surely argue that the COG discrepancies in the AQAL Integral Scholars forum ought be much lower than in conventional society – so aren’t we challenged to crack this puzzle in a safer/easier pilot of sorts?!

I quote from the ITC 2010 paper: ‘In this way the effectiveness of PD is based on the theory that meta-types generate meta-principles that generate meta-cultures that generate meta-collaboration for assisting in the integrated collaborative design of a planetary society’ (pp 18 of 29).

Bruce, this may also be a candidate for an immersive collective contemplation and ‘project work’ for the new Integral Scholars and Practice forum- depending on the appetite to apply PD. What say?

I am not a member of Facebook and will not support it for personal reasons. Same with what I call kennilingus, or trademarked integral, for reasons I've expounded over the years. A main one being the ridiculous notion that the whole "you need to be at my level to understand or criticize me" is fallacious through and through. See this post on Edwards' criticism for this type of rationalization. See this thread on their banning activity and altitude sickness. It seems there is no resolution to this form of religious fanaticism so alternative integral spaces are being created and supported, like this forum for one.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2020   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service