Derrida's descriptions of khora and differance superficially appear to be like Wilber's description of consciousness per se in Integral Spirituality (Shambhala, 2007). For example Wilber says in Chapter 2:

"This happens to fit nicely with the Madhyamaka-Yogachara Buddhist view of consciousness as emptiness or openness. Consciousness is not anything itself, just the degree of openness or emptiness, the clearing in which the phenomena of the various lines appear (but consciousness is not itself a phenomena—it is the space in which phenomena arise)" (66).

Compare with this from Deconstruction in a Nutshell (Fordham UP, 1997):

“But something like khora is 'indeconstructible' not because she/it is a firm foundation, like a metaphysical ground or principle... Rather her indeconstructibility arises because she is...the space in which everything constructible and deconstructible is constituted, and hence...older, prior, preoriginary. Far from being a likeness to the God of the monotheisms...[it] is better compared to...the incomparable, unmetaphorizable, desert-like place without properties or genus....which is not be to confused with the Eternal, Originary Truth...of the intelligible paradigms above” (97-8).

I went into an exploration of Wilber's use of CPS on pages 4 and 5 of the IPN thread, how I think he uses the distinction metaphysically. So let's see how Derrida might be different. “Let us then, like the fool...ask 'what' differance 'is,' in a nutshell....[it] doesn't 'mean' anything at all” (99). After that quote Caputo launches into a discussion of linguistics, about how any word can only be defined in context with other words, and how that definition will change depending on the context of different words around it. In that sense meaning is all within relative context, and yet that differential between meanings, that space or interval in which meaning takes place, is itself not part of the context or meaning. Thus there is not one “essential” meaning of any word because it is contextualized within this play of differences, the play itself being a groundless ground in which meaning takes place.

This seems different than Wilber's metaphysical ground wherein all forms arise. The latter seems much more like Plato's archetypal realm of Ideal forms that step down into the sensible world and “in”form it. Granted Wilber doesn't see them as “pre-formed” but rather much more amorphous involutionary and morphogenetic “potentials.” Still, it seems this is part of the involutionary versus evolutionary dualistic scheme with one side being origin and absolute, with the other being result and relative. Derrida's differant khora is both outside and within that duality, not taking sides, as it were, but providing the stage upon which they play out their differences and similarities.

He does not stake out the ground of a higher principle but concedes a certain an-arche at the bottom of our principles. Derrida is not denying that we have 'principles' or 'truth'.... He is just reinscribing our truth and principles in the an-arche of differance, attaching to them a co-efficient of 'contingency.' For the only 'necessity' he acknowledges is the necessity that precedes all oppositions...inscribing them in a vast and meaning-less receptacle called differance. This is why you cannot ask what differance 'is,' for its 'meaning' or 'truth'....[it] but points a mute, Buddhist finger at the moon” (102).

This differant khora is thus a way to keep meaning open so that it doesn't become fixed and rigidified. All possibilities reside therein so that different contexts as yet unseen will provide new meaning. It requires that we are ceaselessly pushing out boundaries and testing our limits, boldly going where no one—except perhaps Jean Luc and crew—have gone before.

Or maybe those Buddhists to whom Wilber refers? Balder and Bonnitta have made the case for a similar type of open, groundless ground that is in Dzogchen. Maybe so. And that perhaps Wilber, while using that Buddhism, still retains some metaphysics in his interpretation?

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As context we discussed many similar themes in the Meillassoux thread, where contingency was explored as a non- or postmetaphysical ontology. As one example I said:

I just read Caputo's interesting review of a book about a debate between Millbank and Zizek. Here are some excepts highlighting my point from the next to last post, and related to what I've read so far about Miellassoux:

"The core theoretical debate in this book goes back to Hegel, about which Milbank and Žižek share considerable agreement. For Hegel, the fundamental motor of time and becoming is dialectical reconciliation of the members of a binary oppositional pair in virtue of which each one tends to pass into the other on a higher level. But Žižek rejects Hegel's invocation of "reconciliation" of opposites in a happier harmony. For Žižek the next step, the negation of the negation, does not mean a step up (aufheben) to a higher plane of unity but instead a more radically negative negation in which we are led to see that this mutual antagonism is all there is and that we are going to have to work through it. The unreconciled is real and the real is unreconciled. The only reconciliation is to reconcile ourselves to the irreconcilable, to admit that there is no reconciliation, and to come to grips with it. The negation of the negation leaves us with a deeper negation, not with an affirmation. It is not that the spirit is first whole, then wounded, then healed; rather such healing as is available to it comes by getting rid of the idea of being whole to begin with. The antithesis is already the synthesis (72).

"Žižek provocatively suggests an odd kind of 'positive' unbelief in an undead God, like the 'undead' in the novels of Stephen King, a 'spectral' belief that is never simple disbelief along with a God who is never simply dead (101). God is dead but we continue to (un)believe in the ghost of god, in a living dead god. If atheism ("I don't believe in God") is the negation of belief ("I believe in God"), what is the negation of that negation? It is not a higher living spirit of faith that reconciles belief and unbelief but a negation deeper than a simple naturalistic and reactionary atheism (like Hitchins and Dawkins). Belief is not aufgehoben but rather not quite killed off, even though it is dead. It is muted, erased but surviving under erasure, like seeing Marley's ghost even though Scrooge knows he is dead these twenty years; like a crossed out letter we can still read, oddly living on in a kind of spectral condition. Things are neither black nor white but shifting, spectral, incomplete. We have bid farewell to God, adieu to the good old God (à Dieu), farewell to the Big Other, Who Makes Everything Turn Out Right, Who Writes Straight with Crooked Lines, who maketh me to lie down in green pastures. Still, that negation of negation does not spell the simple death of belief but its positive mode in which belief, while dead, lives on (sur/vivre). This unbelief would be the 'pure form' of belief, and if belief is the substance of the things that appear not, Žižek proposes a belief deprived of substance as well as of appearance. Žižek mocks Derrida mercilessly, but when spaceship Žižek finally lands, when this buzzing flutterbug named Žižek finally alights, one has to ask, exactly how far has he landed from Derrida's 'spectral messianic.'"
Recall Balder says this in the M thread:

"What isn't clear to me is whether this completely invalidates the evolution of meaning-systems that Kegan describes, or whether it just undermines the 'closure' we might expect any new emergent meaning-making system (including a meta-system like Kegan's) to exhibit.... If contingency is taken at an extreme...[then] there is no possibility of speaking of 'systems' at all."

Perhaps you can see from above that Derrida (and perhaps M, not sure) is not taking contingency to an extreme, that it doesn't undermine meaning and truth, just grounds and opens the latter's closure?

And as kela noted in the M thread "his [M's] idea of unreason sounds somewhat anarchic to me." Recall the an-arche of khora/differance above, and the type of reason that apprehends it from this excerpt of the "con and decon pomo" thread quoting DIAN:

"Plato says it is not a legitimate son of reason but is apprehended by a spurious or corrupted logos, a hybrid or bastard reasoning."

One of M's critiques or correlationism in that thread was that it accepts ontology as unknowable. To the contrary it would indeed appear one can apprehend it with a bastard form of (un)reasoning much like his own.
And this from DIAN:

"The last thing Derrida is interested in doing is undermining the natural sciences or scientific knowledge generally. A 'deconstruction' of natural science...would be to keep the laws of science in a self-revising, self-questioning mode of openness to the...'anomaly' the upstarts, the new ideas" (73).

But this is not done in an arbitrary fashion by simply questioning the underlying principles of science or any knowledge base without having a firm grounding in that base. For one must first know the thing one deconstructs inside-out from the point of view of those holding such knowledge. For example:

"To read Aristotle and Plato well one must learn Greek, learn as much as possible about their predecessors, contemporaries and successors, about their religions, social, historical and political presuppositions, understand the complex history of subsequent interpretations of their works, etc." (78).

It is this type of thorough understanding of Plato that Derrida brings with his deconstructive reading, and the implications are right in Plato's text.

"The very idea of a deconstructive reading presupposes this...classical reading....only after that reading, or through it, or best of all along with it, does a deconstructive reading settle in.... The idea is not to jettison the classical discipline but to disturb it by way of exploring what systematically drops through its grid and, by so disturbing it, open it up" (76-7).
One of Wilber's criticisms is that deconstruction is not a praxis that leads to a direct apprehension of emptiness, it's all words and concepts, all lingusitic, all "relative." As we can see, it most certainly is a practice that leads to apprehension, albeit a different praxis and a different, non-relative (and non-absolute) emptiness.
Also for reference here are the links to the prior Gaia threads on Derrida and Desilet's synergist spirituality. The documents are so large that Google docs sometimes cannot load them for viewing but you can download them quickly and then open them in any word processing program. I did so just now with the Derrida thread. It is 183 pages so you can see why sometimes (ofttimes) Google docs has difficultly displaying them. (Desilet's thread is "only" 155 pages.)
Thanks Ed,
This all makes a lot of 'sense' to me. Most names for that condition of emptiness in my experience are pointing at something/no thing which is only inferred from the appearance of thought or impulse at the edge of manifestation. The words themselves feel like a lie, but I seem to know this space of undifferentiation.
Anyway, I appreciated the connections your post made for me with Derrida as I have not read him.
PS...This post refers to your 1st as I didn't see your follow-ups. Also thanks for the links to the old Gaia threads.
And thank you for reading and appreciating. I am here to be of service to this community, to offer what I can by way of my meager understanding, my "footnotes to Plato" as it were.
Thanks, Ed, this looks like an interesting and promising thread. I have skimmed it (busy today) but will return to read it more carefully soon and will comment more then. I also was thinking of posting something on the so-called Witness (by Shinzen Young) that might be interesting to explore in relation to your reflections above. I will post that soon as well.
In relation to Caputo's comments about Zizek above recall this from DIAN (first quoted in the context-transcendent meaning thread):

“When we think of Plato we think of the two worlds or regions allegorized in the cave: the upper world of the intelligible paradigms, the sphere of invisible and unchanging being in the sun of the Good that shines over all, as opposed to the sensible likenesses of the forms in the changing, visible world of becoming.... When presented with a neat distinction or opposition of this sort—and this distinction inaugurates philosophy, carves out the very space of 'meta-physics'—Derrida will not, in the manner of Hegel, look for some uplifting, dialectical reconciliation of the two in a higher third thing, a concrete universal, which contains the 'truth' of the first two. Instead, he will look around—in the text itself—for some third thing that the distinction omits, some untruth, or barely remnant truth, which falls outside the famous distinction, which the truth of either separately or both together fails to capture, which is neither and both of the two.

In the Timaeus the missing third thing, a third nature or type—khora—is supplied by Plato himself. Khora is the immense and indeterminate spatial receptacle in which the sensible likenesses of the eternal paradigms are 'engendered,' in which they are 'inscribed' by the Demiurge, thereby providing a 'home' for all things.... This receptacle is like the forms inasmuch as it has a kind of eternity: it neither is born or dies, it is always already there, and hence beyond temporal coming-to-be and passing away; yet it does not have the eternity of the intelligible paradigms but a certain a-chronistic a temporality. Because it belongs neither to the intelligible nor the sensible world Plato says it is 'hardly real.' Moreover, while it cannot be perceived by the senses but only by the mind, still it is not an intelligible object of the mind, like the forms. Hence, Plato says it is not a legitimate son of reason but is apprehended by a spurious or corrupted logos, a hybrid or bastard reasoning. Khora in neither intelligible being nor sensible becoming, but a little like both, the subject matter of neither a true logos nor a good mythos” (83-4).

Hegel was of course an influence for Wilber, especially in the way described above, as we can see in his higher nondual resolution of absolute and relative. As Zizek and Caputo note though, the negation of the negation or khora is not that. Two negatives make a positive assertion in a roundabout way, but one that remains "spectral," one that never quite comes into being or fades completely away into nonbeing.
A deeper understanding of Derrida passes by a close reading of Lacan, his great source of inspiration plus Claude Levi- Strauss in France. But unfortunately, the writings of Lacan in english are mostly uncomprehensible as far as I know. neither are they in french. Nevertheless, this is a short essay of Derrida called "For the love of Lacan", interesting stuff to figure out the role of Jacques Lacan his work.
KW mentioned Lacan for the first ime in his book "Eye to Eye". but just a very breif statement like: "Lacan is a brillaint freudian", then he added "..but the unconscious is not only language, a dog had sexual feelings... etc.." the last statement was doxical, the classiclal drive theory of Freud had to be preserved. What KW did´t mention was that Lacan was persona non grata in all psychonalytical institutes in France and the US, They hated him for his new and radical conception of the unconscious, and his short analytical session. Our orthodox clan was scared to be out of business. Lacan crititicized the doimant ego-psychology of the Hartmann school reigning to focus mainly on to readapt the individual to a sick world s/he rejected through his symptomatology. Lacan declared hat the orthodox view had killed the revolutionary potential still hidden in the depths of Freud´s work. His job was to restaure it. Of course that idea wasn´t popular and lacan died short after that. his work was taken on by Derrida and Kristeva in the academy,
I referenced Desilet above and linked to 2 prior IPS threads in which he participated. Let's now look at his article "Misunderstanding Derrida and Postmodernism." He says:

"But by embracing any form of absolute transcendence in his philosophical outlook, Wilber necessarily retains traditional metaphysical distinctions between emptiness and form, the real and the manifest, and Being and time."

Desilet gives Wilber credit for his exposition in IS (Appendix II) on the relative side of the coin and agrees with much of it. But W still maintains an absolute in clear distinction with the relative and his nonduality is a higher synthesis and reconciliation between the two. Whereas for Desilet (and Derrida)

"time (as difference or change) and Being (as sameness or permanence) interpenetrate each other all the way through and at every point....At certain places in his discussion Wilber seems to grasp the postmodern approach to oppositional tensions as interpenetrations simultaneously essentially different and essentially related."

And in other places W maintains the divide with his absolute Spirit apprehended via nirodha meditation as the other side of the equation. W's version of the myth of the given only applies to the relative side.

Desilet then goes into this "witness" business, which relates to the other thread on Shinzin Young. It is distinguished form the ego in that the latter is again only relative whereas the witness is pure, absolute consciousness. Particularly relevant to this discussion is that Derrida's "undeconstructable" (like khora) should not be confused with the likes of this transcendental absolute:

"Every instance of necessarily already divided. Consciousness and Being are split by difference all the way to the core.... The 'other' functions as an 'absolute' for Derrida only in the sense of presenting an absolute 'opening' as the 'yet to come' (what Wilber might regard as the 'unmanifest'). The 'yet to come,' as that which can potentially come into awareness and experience, cannot be absolutely alien to the self yet neither can it be absolutely known or comprehended at any moment in time. As such, the 'yet to come' retains a quality of essential difference from and essential relation to 'what is.'”

And Desilet's concluding remarks make a point I've made several times before, that retaining the absolute (as metaphysically defined) maintains notions of superiority and hegemony, something we've certainly witnessed in the kennilinguist integral community.

"Traditional metaphysics and its construction of notions of absolute transcendence that easily slide, however unintentionally, toward authorization of modes of certainty that do little more than contribute to predispositions of non-negotiation and systems of exclusionary discrimination."

Granted Wilber does move away from traditional metaphysics, per both my and Desilet's comments above, at least on the relative side of the street. But he still retains it for his absolute.

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