Just thought I'd ask what exactly everyone defines as post-metaphysical. I'm a bit skeptical about the idea so I'd like to hear more about it. Thanks!


Views: 6221

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I don't like the term post-metaphysical either. Basically post-metaphical means anything that we can't prove, which is why traditional metaphical claims of religions and mythic belief systems, can't always be discerned to the truth of those claims...such as cosmological orderings of the universe, heirarchy of metaphysical beings (angels, aliens...etc), and the way the universe works.

I think though that the term "post-metaphysical" can be a hinderance...
just what do we classify as "metaphysics"? ..

belief in psi and telepathy?
belief in telekinesis?
belief in angels?
belief in another vibratory dimension called "heaven"?
belief in ghosts?
belief in "God"? (It also depends on how you define God)

...belief in aliens (although some people would count this as rational, because of the odds). Look aliens do exist...Just look at this Ken Wilber Crop circle!! :) Although "surprisingly," this looks an awful lot like an Alex Grey drawing. lol. :)

Hey rltruthseeker,

Thanks for the reply! I appreciate your sense of humor. You articulated my own problem with "post-metaphysics." What is metaphysics anyway? And are the things you listed necessarily "unreal?" A product of a culture's imagination in trying to describe the divine? Then again, what is the relationship with the divine and the imagination?

Personally I use the word "metaphysics" to describe just these things--the divine, collective unconscious, multidimensional realities, angelic beings, realms of light, etc. These are authentic spiritual experiences and cross over quite a few traditions. The conclusions of how we order these realities with our concepts, into hierarchies and so forth, may be questionable, but the reality of these experiences seems very open-ended.

I don't think we necessarily have to "settle for" the terms of postmodernity on this subject as far as these realities go. At best, postmodernism can critique the human conclusions about it, at worst, it misses the point entirely---that this imaginative realm (archetypes, unconscious, beings, supernatural) has always been beyond the grasp of mental conclusions. To me, imagination is the bridge between our world and the divine.

edit: I guess what I'm saying is, these metaphysical realities have always existed, it's just that our attempt to understand them has changed.
Hi, Jer, RL,

Often, yes, the word "metaphysics" (or "metaphysical") is identified with various "paranormal" phenomena or realms or whatever. Go to a local book store and just look at the types of books in the Metaphysical section (which usually includes all of Wilber's books, ha ha). In the case of the term, post-metaphysical, however, I do not think this is the primary meaning; it is not how I interpret it, and not what I think Wilber means by the term either. I don't see post-metaphysical as pointing to a view or approach which is "beyond" all so-called metaphysical phenomena, but rather is an approach which seeks to go beyond a particular form of epistemology, or to honor and integrate modern and postmodern epistemological demands. Wilber, in a shorthand way, defines "metaphysics" as "assertions without evidence," which is the "modern" piece, and then refines this with a discussion of the limitations of the representationalist epistemology and the myth of the given -- “the belief that reality is simply given to me, or that there is a single pregiven world that consciousness delivers to me more or less as it is, instead of a world that is constructed in various ways before it ever reaches my empirical or phenomenal awareness" -- which is the postmodern piece (e.g., Sellars' "myth of the given" or Rorty's "mirror of nature" critiques). Wilber actually draws on a number of different streams in his formulation of the idea, not the least of which is Habermasian theory.

We've discussed this in a number of threads on the previous forum. Here's a link to one of them that I've archived.

Best wishes,

Hi Bruce -- FYI, that link doesn't provide full access. When I clicked on it, it said I needed permission from its creator (you, I guess?) to open the document.

It also allowed me to "request access" for the doc, which I just did, so ... I guess that's how it works? ...
Hi, Mary. Thanks for letting me know. Is this better?

Mary W. said:
Hi Bruce -- That link isn't quite working. When I clicked on it, it said I needed permission from its creator (you, I guess?) to open the document.
Yes -- that works. Thanks!
Here is my comment from the “witness consciousness” thread, 3/22/10 @ 8:13 pm:

“Quick comment on metaphysics and postmetaphysics: It depends on how we are defining them. As you can see from the last post metaphysics is synonymous with ontology and reality via realism. And yet embodied realism does not accept #3, access to absolutely correct, objective knowledge. It is the latter that defines postmetaphysics, not that there is denial of reality or metaphysics. Postmetaphysics is post the technical definition of the term "metaphysics" (see this for example) being claims such as #3, along with all those transcendental doohickies like the ‘witness.’"
Hey S Marty Pants,

I deeply appreciate you pointing this out and feel it cuts to the heart of the issue. I believe a lot of Wilber's integral has overly intellectualized itself and fallen into the same trap as the rational-structure.

Origin, "integral" isn't an object quantified in space. It's something behind the objects, the appearances, "origin" is something like "original face." Gebser urged silence and attentiveness rather than mere intellectualizing. I'm sure the integral movement has good intentions but IMO it's become trapped in conceptualization and metaphysics (as defined).

The way Gebser describes integral: "Rather than allowing only one (rational) structure to be valid, all structures are recognized, presented, one through the other." -- I believe this has been mistaken for conceptual recognition and not something more basic, deeper, "Original." It has mystical connotations, more likened to "You are that," or Wei Wu Wei's "realizing the subject of that which is seen rather than separate objects in space." I find it particularly sublime in that it also seems to be a consummation of that eternal "origin" and all that has been born from it (the other structures and their perception of reality). It's non-dual in that sense. Freedom in time and form.

I believe this is why Gebser was enthusiastic about Sri Aurobindo, because like Gebser, he emphasized a transformation of the world after "classical enlightenment." The sage returns to the marketplace and participates, if he or she chooses, to "transmute lead into gold." Or as Teilhard describes as "sublimating the world."

For an intellectually, rationally structured and driven culture of the West to have a "realization" that they ARE their thoughts, to go through a rational period and into illumination and awakening to origin, this was the "shift" Gebser hoped to see. The Western Mind redeemed and reborn in a new planetary age. At least, it's what I got out of his work. Basically, can the intellectual transform his consciousness and become the mystic, the yogi?

Food for thought (or maybe not?)


S Marty Pants said:
To try to abandon metaphysics requires more metaphysics: Quote: "Rather than allowing only one (rational) structure to be valid, all structures are recognized, presented, one through the other. This awareness of and acceptance of the various structures enables one to live through the various structures rather than to be subjected to them ("lived by" them in German).
To realize the various [metaphysical] structures within one's language and habits, and even within one's own life and self is a difficult task. But Gebser says that it is a task that we cannot choose to ignore without losing ourselves. This means that our so-called "objective thinking" is not without consequences, is not innocent. That to live "objectively" means to give life to the horrors of nihilism combined with the know how of highly "efficient" weapons. It means that "objectivity" gets applied to "engineering humanity" whether it is in the behavioral sciences or the physical sciences. He asks of us whether or not we have as of yet had our fill of those horrors. Are we willing to settle into the comfort of our daily life or to take on the process of change? He offers as a guiding note that just as there is also a time to act, there is also the much neglected time of contemplation. In a world where know-how is overvalued, simple knowing must also be nurtured in contemplation. Furthermore, he knew that thought was never simply a mental exercise restricted to one's writing. He calls upon us to realize that we are what we think." (emphasis added).
One of the angles we've explored here in past discussions of 'post-metaphysics,' is that a post-metaphysical approach is better understood, not as one which avoids metaphysics altogether, but rather, as a critically informed metaphysics. In my own thinking, I lean towards a participatory, enactive metaphysics as an approach which can be fruitfully maintained in a postmodern, critical context.
Pardon the non sequitur, but I have a burning question: Does anyone know whether a Toucan is a monad or a holon?
...the raw sensory data of zazen is filtered through the metaphysical software...

The above is the crux of the issue as to what is "post" metaphysical (PM). That there is even something we call "raw data,' given as such and only later translated into "metaphysical templates" is itself part of what is considered metaphysics by PM. PM of course makes a conscious metaphysical claim if by metaphysics we mean a claim as to the nature of reality. But the PM claim is not that it is sans metaphysics in that sense but rather that there is no raw data as such (the given) sans our relationship (enaction) with it. Which of course doesn't mean that the objective world doesn't exist without humans to interpret it, only that as far as human understanding and experience goes, the objective world doesn't exist in some pure state that we can apprehend as it is, free of "metaphysical templates." (Even in the highest meditation or contemplation.) For the purposes of this forum then, the issue is which so-called metaphysical templates are PM in these terms, since the consensus is that PM is better than metaphysics.
theurj said:
there is no raw data as such (the given) sans our relationship (enaction) with it.

Yes. This is why Nirvana doesn't work in the long run. Immañuel Kant says basically the same thing: that our perception of reality is influenced by our interpretations about it. Or, in Einsteins terms: "It is the theory which decides what we can observe." See also Integral Spirituality, Footnote 147 .

Smarty Pannts: Since all outer conflict is arises from inner conflict

Say what?? This statement is fairly misleading. The Truth is (and this is even d'accord with Ken Wilber): it is far easier to influence the UL Quadrant through an LR Quad Change than the other way round. You wouldn't have to wait until this stupid 10% tipping point has come; As soon as you upgrade your factory to assembly line business you rule the game. Every other Quadrant is inescapably affected.


Reply to Discussion


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.

© 2024   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service