I posted the following in the Yahoo Adult Development forum and am cross-posting here. I'll keep you apprised of some key responses, provided I get any: 

Building on the post below* regarding Lakoff's embodied reason, he seems to call into question the type of abstract reasoning usually found at the formal operational level. This appears to be false reasoning based on the idea that reason is abstract, literal, conscious, can fit the world directly and works by logic (also see for example this article ). If formal reasoning is false wouldn't this call into question some of the assumptions of the MHC? That perhaps this "stage" is a dysfunction instead of a step toward post-formal reasoning? 

Now Lakoff has his own hierarchy of how embodied reason develops: image-schematic, propositional, metaphoric, metonymic, symbolic. (See for example "Metaphor, cognitive models and language" by Steve Howell.) So I'm wondering how the MHC takes into account Lakoff's work here and how it answers his charge of false reason? Terri Robinett noted in his Ph.D. dissertation (at the Dare Association site) that "work has already begun by Commons and Robinett (2006) on a hierarchically designed instrument to measure Lakoff’s (2002) theory of political worldview." So perhaps you can shed some light on this? 

* This is the referenced post: 

Since Michael brought up Lakoff as perhaps being "at right angles to the stage dimension" I read this by Lakoff this evening: "Why 'rational reason' doesn't work in contemporary politics." He distinguishes between real and false reason, the former being bodily based and the latter existing in some sort of objective, abstract realm. Very interesting indeed. Here are a few excerpts: 

"Real reason is embodied in two ways. It is physical, in our brain circuitry. And it is based on our bodies as the function in the everyday world, using thought that arises from embodied metaphors. And it is mostly unconscious. False reason sees reason as fully conscious, as  literal, disembodied, yet somehow fitting the world directly, and working not via frame-based, metaphorical, narrative and emotional logic, but via the logic of logicians alone."
"Real reason is inexplicably tied up with emotion; you cannot be rational without being emotional. False reason thinks that emotion is the enemy of reason, that it is unscrupulous to call on emotion. Yet people with brain damage who cannot feel emotion cannot make rational  decisions because they do not know what to want, since like and not like mean nothing. 'Rational' decisions are based on a long history of emotional responses by oneself and others. Real reason requires emotion."

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Hi again DM and t - I am sure that the Buddhists that t has referenced have gone deeply into the issues around identification, embodiment, and locating one's sentient capacities within the grand field.

I awoke today remembering a somewhat brief past interest of mine from the 70s and 80s. You recall the isolation tanks, and the related perhaps popularizing and fantasy-dramatizing movie "altered states," which I loved at the time. (Subsequently it seemed pretty dorky.)

I logged a bit of time in isolation tanks in the 80s and thought about making one. John Lilly wrote a book about the topic that I read. This was still the general time frame of psychedelic exploration and the two modalities may have become mixed together in some ways. Then later came Grof's holotropic breath work for another way of accessing our lives interiors in non-ordinary ways.

The relevance for me to mention the isolation tanks is another pointing at the relativity, context dependence, and sort of fragility of embodied orientation based on sense data and perception experienced while in this particular form of relative isolation.

I am not sure where I am going with this ultimately. This likely is simply part of my on-going curiosity (apart from what Buddhist, phenomenological, scientific and other experts have been saying as a body of available organized knowledge.) I could maybe think that my way of coming to the theme, with only relative naïveté, is better embodied and integrated for me than a careful study. I suppose they go hand in hand (note the embodied metaphor :))

Ambo Suno said:

Hi DM - there may be more in your quotes that I can relate to, but I want to state a quick potential resonance with you and this quote, "It calls for our doubts, questions, rebellions, and growth pains. Yet in this call­ing it asks us to find our peace by accepting in faith [emboldening mine] the meaning of its mystery and the mystery of its meaning."

Part of what I seem to have been wanting to get at is this challenge of finding reliable orientation referents that can pertain to different AQAL addresses, or different conditions and phenomena beyond our usual. When you take away the, "I am nots" and/or you imaginally find yourself in deep outer space or inner space for which much sensory-perceptual functions and apparati did not evolve, how does one orient oneself? 

On earth there are so many sensory, proprioceptive, kinesthetic, perceptual networks of self feedback and knowing. Feeling one's profound and almost ubiquitous responses to gravity are one. Breathing apparently continues on earth or in a controlled off-planet environment and those breath-related movements and sensations are relatively reliable orienting cues. Touch and other senses could also be present, but different.

Yet as we imagine ourselves (already tending toward disembodying mentality), we can find ourselves without the usual cues. It may be that Einstein and other scientists have 'made discoveries' while imagining and while in non-ordinary states. These might be disembodied moments, yet it turns out that some of their discoveries are reasonable and congruent with reality as we know it. It is surprising, how many times in recent years that we hear that Einstein's theorem or theory turns out to be consistent with yet another newly measured condition.

I have taken a while, David, to get to my resonance with your quote. I want to say that in our imagining and thought experiments, where we end up where we are, not these, nor those, nor seemingly any thing, what is in the orienting function is "faith." Some of find that unreliable, and dubious from various logics and personal reactions, yet some people find faith to be substantial. Take away everything, and there is faith. Faith is at least a place-holder within the mystery, perhaps a heuristic imaginal tool that can create a perception of orientation and maybe even leverage for accomplishing and for facilitating/catalyzing useful interior networks. If what I just said is intelligible at all, it is probably clear that I am trying to consider it objectively, brain-science-like; that apparently would not be the language and understanding of subjects who feel faith as orienting.

I hope that was intelligible enough.

Faith, at least, = felt and declared orientation. Disembodied? Hmm - probably some things could be said about that.

I feel like I have nattered here, David.

What in that quote most resonates with you in regard to "real and false reason", embodiment, or orientation?

DavidM58 said:

I wonder if this quote from Bernard Loomer will resonate with the theme of this thread.  This is from a long essay (1975 I think) entitled "The Everlasting Size of God," which explores Whitehead's concept of "everlastingness" in connection with Loomer's own concept of "size," which is about the continuously growing possibility (related to emergence) of greater stature, or what Wilber calls "depth" (in contrast to span). This is his conclusion of the essay:

"We live with the indispensable aid of our ideas, especially the ideas of largest generality. But every advance, every achievement, brings with it the ambiguous impulse both to go beyond and to rest content. Idolatry takes many forms. In this instance it may appear as a commitment to our most general ideas and understandings. But life moves beyond even these, important as they are.

There is a restless spirit within the processes of becoming that moves toward greater size or stature. It celebrates and builds upon past and present achievements of stature, wherever they occur. It struggles against ambigu­ous principalities and powers within itself and its creations. It discloses itself as a community of size, urging us to share its life of relational love, with its accompanying struggles, tragedies, despair, and crosses, together with its celebrations, dances, common meals, and healing graces. It calls for our doubts, questions, rebellions, and growth pains. Yet in this call­ing it asks us to find our peace by accepting in faith the meaning of its mystery and the mystery of its meaning.

For myself, this is the empirical equivalent to Charles Hartshorne’s necessarily existing God."

This post is about a physics-neural explanation of communication. It starts by likening the communication process to "entrainment." Physical entrainment is dmonstrated and then neural entrainment. There are several factors and brain systems sorted out in an experimental condition followed by statistical and graphic-visual analysis. An fMRI is used to show the areas in the brain that light up in storytelling and communication generally. Side by side analysis of various co-listeners and the speaker make for an easily understood illustration of entrainment and lacks of that.

I think as the speaker at the conclusion of the science explains some possible relevance and implications, one can maybe begin to see how this topic relates to embodiment and to more real communication and reasoning. I think that this may be an example of a neuro-phenomenological attempt as Evan Thompson, Antoine Lutz, and Diego Cosmelli addressed in the paper referred by theurj - Neurophenomenology: An Introduction for Neurophilosophers.

Maybe one of you will have a better way of describing this relevance than I have tried.


I'm pretty sure I posted before this Lakoff interview about Philosophy in the Flesh. In this excerpt he supports polydoxy and integral methodological pluralism from the cogsci perspective:

"Science and the social sciences all use causal theories, but the metaphors for causation can vary widely and thus so can the kinds of causal inferences you can draw. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. You just have to realize that causation is not just one thing. There are many kinds of modes of causation, each with different logical inferences, that physical, social, and cognitive scientists attribute to reality using different metaphors for causation. Again, it is important to know which metaphor for causation you are using. Science cannot be done without metaphors of all sorts, starting with a choice of metaphors for causation. Most interestingly, if you look at the history of philosophy, you will find a considerable number of 'theories of causation.' When we looked closely at the philosophical theories of causation over the centuries, they all turned out to be one or another of our commonplace metaphors for causation. What philosophers have done is to pick their favorite metaphor for causation and put it forth as an eternal truth" (11).

This clip shows how we can get confused about so-called non-local causation, given Einstein's metaphor of time in a spatial dimension:

"In characterizing space-time, Einstein, like Newton before him, used the common metaphor that time is a spatial dimension. My present time and location is metaphorically conceptualized as a point in a four-dimensional space, with the present as a point on the time axis. In order for there to be curvature in space time, the time axis must be extended - it cannot be just one point, the present. In addition to the present, the time axis must include portions of the time axis understood as future and past if there is to be enough of the time axis to form a curved space time. This seems to imply, as philosophers have repeatedly observed, that at least portions of the future and past coexist with present. And if the future exists at present, then the universe is deterministic. Frankly, it seems nutty to say that the past, present, and future are coexistent - and yet the curvature of space-time seems to imply it."

"Does that mean that we should-or can-try to jettison the metaphor? For better or worse, we cannot get rid of it - even if it does have a nutty entailment. [...] It is vitally important not to take those metaphors literally, even if that leaves us with no literal understanding at all. We should not take time literally to be a spatial dimension; we should recognize that we are using a common metaphor, and that the metaphor has the unwanted baggage of determinism-the entailment that present, past, and future coexist" (12-13).

Which of course reminds me of Edwards' multiple lens needed for an IMP. In this post I showed how he wondered if there was some explanation why human experience always showed up as these multiple lenses, which I related to image schema. Edwards concludes that AQAL theory places far too much emphasis on the developmental holoarchy lens. Lakoff likewise sees the objectivist paradigm as being too reliant on the hierarchical set/category theory based on particular image schema. That is, getting caught in a favorite metaphor of causation and assuming it as an a priori eternal truth.

I'm reading Thomas Frank's book Listen Liberal. It's interesting to note that the liberal shift to expertise and complexity with the McGovern Commission sets a sociological background for key elements of the AQAL movement. Complexity came to be valued for its own sake. But it was a complexity that dissociated from its foundations in that the highly educated professions came to look down on the working class as deserving of their fate because they weren't educated or smart enough. It was a dissociation from its 'base,' so to speak.

This was further supported by the ideology backing the professional class, with language of superior states like absolute reason or the soul being elevated beyond the mortal coil of toil and degradation. E.g., false reason in Lakoff's terms. We can see this same dynamic in kennilingus as well, a top-down cream of the crop leading us lower level humans to the promised land not by making our material conditions better (how crass) but by selling us an ideology that will transform how we perceive and interpret those conditions. Thing is, those conditions have only gotten worse since this 'liberal enlightenment' of the upper classes.

Also see this post (from another thread) and 3 or 4 above it on Bhaskar, also relevant to this thread.

I came upon this relevant book recently and will park it here for now: New Trends in Conceptual Representation: Challenges to Piaget's Theory (link to Google books). It seems to reiterate some of the lines of exploration in this thread.

In my discussions with the Yahoo Adult Development forum I always found a sympathetic ear from Eeva Kallio. Here's her article "From causal thinking to wisdom and spirituality," which explores alternative framing for adult development in terms of integrative thinking, more akin to a Gebserian (a)perspective. Some of the issues therein have been explored earlier in this thread.

The entire issue of Approaching Religion from which the above was taken can be found here. Another article of interest therein might be "Participation, metaphysics and enlightenment: reflections on Ken Wilber's recent work" by Jorge Ferrer.

I copied and pasted this discussion to Google docs and it came to 186 pages! Copying and pasting each page is time consuming. There's got to be a better way to save these threads? Anyone know it?

"One product of the development of logical operations is the evolution of categorical thinking. Therefore arguments about the kind for world categories represent and the nature of categorical representations have implications Piagetian theory. [...] Rosch and her colleagues have contrasted the artificial world of concept-learning experiments with the natural world in which people construct and use concepts. They assert that the two worlds are so different that one cannot use the setting for concept-learning experiments or the models used to represent that setting (e.g., equivalence categories and truth tables) to represent natural category formation" (46-7).

Edwyrd theurj Burj said:

I came upon this relevant book recently and will park it here for now: New Trends in Conceptual Representation: Challenges to Piaget's Theory (link to Google books). It seems to reiterate some of the lines of exploration in this thread.

"In concept-learning tasks [...] the concepts or category system representing the set is defined by selection mechanism that isolates or abstracts a single dimension or combination of dimensions on which objects vary which ignoring other aspects of the set. Both the lack of structure in the concept set and the nature of the abstraction processes dictate a definition of category intension in terms of necessary and sufficient defining features. All exemplars possess a particular property, and every exemplar that that has that property is a member of the set. All nonexemplars lack the defining property. Consequently, category boundaries are discrete and sharp" (47).

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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?

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