For anyone interested --

Tom, a former member of IPS, has posted an interesting -- and lengthy! -- blog on Integral Life.


Quantum Enlightenment 

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Tom, thanks for your many rich contributions so far to this thread.  It's clear your reflections on this over the past year have brought you to a new level of clarity.  I am put in mind of an earlier discussion we had, which might be nice to reference in relation to this discussion:  Michel Bitbol: Science as if Situation Mattered.


I am resonating with your (and Dürr's) descriptions of the centrality of relationship in this perspective, and find it consonant with Raimon Panikkar's model of radical relativity (which he distinguishes from 'relativism,' and which I believe is a similar stage-expression to the one you are describing). 


Wilber has complained about the New Age appropriation and misuse/misinterpretation of quantum physics, and I think there is merit to his concerns, but I think the approach you are taking is perfectly appropriate (and is one I have taken, though with less sophistication, in class with students when we discuss quantum theory):  considering the field for its epistemological contributions, which are radical enough -- and which have profound philosophical, psychological, and spiritual-ethical implications -- without having to take the flakier (and naively metaphysical/magical) leaps taken by What the Bleep, etc.

hi tom, i too really like the way that your framing this very complex topic. here's why: 1- the idea that science and spirituality could one day come to a theoretical synthesis is in my mind, logically consistent. 2- your not 'fetishizing' qm in the way that say kenny and co. do with evolution. at this point , i'm not seeing any trademarks around your ideas, iwo's your not trying to sell this; but rather, put out ideas that are of personal importance and passion to you....


i imagine you have not  considered that we we are dealing with qm gremlins? hehehe

Tom:  Bruce, thank you.  It was Wilber in fact who prompted me to work this issue by saying science and spirituality don't mix.  I remember feeling a jolt reading that because I strongly sense that all knowing must be one.

Can you tell me which statement of Wilber's you're referring to?  I believe I've heard him say things like that before, too, but he's also attempted his own integrations of science and spirituality, as he did in The Marriage of Sense and Soul.

Also, I'd like to hear more about what you mean when you say that all knowing must be one.  I am more comfortable (playfully) saying something like knowing ones, or knowing (for an individual or even group or culture) exhibits a holotropic movement; but at the same time, 'knowing' seems to exhibit a concurrent movement towards branching out, unfolding a profusion of forms, stories, lifeways.  The wholeness I intuit is well described, in my view, by Bortoft's phrase, 'active absence.'  Knowing is in that sense (to use a TSK term) intuple -- integrally multiple or multiplying, where (as the Bonpos say) sheer, teeming multiplicity is testimony to unbounded wholeness (but there is no definite or well-defined 'whole').

I do think it makes sense, within a particular kairos (using Panikkar's term), that we can expect a 'coming together' of deep insights from multiple fields, and historically a 'field coherence' to emerge, and I think this can be enriching and profound -- but I hold this without expecting the arrival of any final unification.

What do you think?

Tom: Btw, Bruce, you may have missed my reference above that Dürr actually wrote a book with Panikkar.  I'm not too familiar with Panikkar, but the phrase radical relativity makes sense to me, as it surely does with Dürr.

Wow, thank you; I had missed that.  That is interesting.  I found your reference (and the German book title).  I wonder if it's available in English.  I'd love to check it out.  (Appreciating Panikkar can be frustrating because he writes in multiple languages, and at his level of sophistication, I can only hope to make sense of him in one).

I'm just getting back from a day at the beach (Half Moon Bay), bright red and feeling all sun-toasty and lazy.  Perhaps I'll be better able to make sense of quantum questions, now that I'm fried.


Tom:  I haven't read all Wilber's works, and beyond feeling dissonance at reading certain sentences the sources of which now escape me, I do recall that the earlier book he edited, Quantum Questions, presses the point that science and spirituality are and will remain separate.  But perhaps that's an earlier version of Wilber.

Yes, I recall the hard lines Wilber drew in that book, and the quantum spirituality debunking he got up to.  He's still skittish of quantum-spirituality marriages, but he nevertheless did try to get religion and science hitched (in Al Gore's favorite book, The Marriage of Sense and Soul).

Tom:  I like your second paragraph, Bruce, and particularly like the Bortoft phrase.  To simplify and slow things down, let me ask, when you say "knowing ones," do you mean:1) knowing strives for unity, but will never achieve it (asymptotic approach to unity); or 2) knowing strives for and achieves unity, but that unity falls apart, leading to a new cycle of one-ing.

Hmm, I have to think about this.  Regarding 1, I think there is a certain striving for metaphysical closure that I regard as problematic, and which I suspect will be continually frustrated.  This is perhaps akin to the asymptotic approach to unity you described, and if so, by saying, 'knowing ones,' no, I do not mean this.  I would grant that this striving for metaphysical closure (absoluteness, oneness) is something knowers get up to, so -- to take knowing for the moment as subject -- this is something knowing does, but this is not what I meant.

Regarding 2, yes, I think both that conscious moments have a holistic quality (exhibiting a complex, folded field of relationships as a 'felt' or apparent 'unity'), and that 'oneness' (say, as a particular type of peak experience or insight) is also a potential of our knowing capacity. 

But, by saying this, I do not mean to say either that consciousness 'is' The Whole or that consciousness gives access to The Whole (even of an organism, or a 'moment').

Thus, when you say, as you did in a previous post on the de Quincey thread,

"If consciousness is the unity-show of the entirety of a holon's happenings---the unity-show of everything going on in the holon, of the holon's world---how the heck does that happen?  What is consciousness, this stuff de Quincey calls non-physical?  And how does it sum everything?  And why is it localized as my awareness, your awareness?"

...I am curious what you mean.  Can you clarify what you're saying?  What is the everything that consciousness discloses, in your view?

Best wishes.  I'm off to bed -- finding that my sunburned skin and brain aren't helping me at all.  I'm foggy, sleepy, and don't have much consciuousness left in me at the moment!



What is the everything that consciousness discloses?

It is this language "everything" that cause me confusion as well. I get a lot of what Tom says in relation to my posts elsewhere but it seems that this "whole" is a unity-in-totality we directly experience phenomenally, and this somehow and actually allows for things like instant teleportation across vast expanses of space and time. Metaphorically perhaps, but in actual physicality? It's those implications that don't make sense for me.

For example, light itself, which might "experience" a space/timelessness, has physical limitations, i.e. a measureable velocity. True, it's the measurement that interacts with the phenomena (light) that "imposes" that limitation. But I thought that was a quantum given, that there can be no separation of the phonemena from its measurement situation?

A couple of your qualifications clarified this for me:

Unity operates as a deep background factor...the deep implicit factor...the necessarily implied unity...

It makes sense as an implied unity or whole, but one that remains forever implied and never completely explicit in its totality. And all of which does not allow us to instantly teleport to the far reaches of the galaxy. Yes, we have in some sense a connection to the entire galaxy, but again, only implicitly and not in any 1-to-1 relation where I'm consciously aware of what's going on over there on the other side, say through ESP with my master mentors in the Sirius system. The latter is where it gets woo woo for me. Or to use a postmeta trope, where it starts to get all Deepak on me (i.e. deep ack).

How might you relate your "quantum consciousness" to the Penrose-Hameroff model discussed in this thread?

Hi, Tom, yes, that's beautifully put and that makes perfect sense to me.  That's what I was trying to get at, actually, with the first part of my response to option 2: that a moment of knowing carries with it a felt unity and can be seen as a complex, folded field of relationships -- which, I agree, is a field of co-implication.  Last night, before I lost steam, I had been thinking about bringing in a few related words -- multiplicity, implicate, explicate -- which all turn around the word 'fold,' where fold seems to imply a unity-in-differentiation, a unity that is mutually implicit with differentiation and profusion of forms.


The reason I said 'felt' unity, and also questioned you about the 'everything' you were referring to, is because that knowing moment is a perspectival/situational enaction (situational knowing-in-action) and because other conscious moments of the 'same subject' -- or perspectives taken simultaneously or subsequently on the 'same subject,' say, by a neuroscientist or a psychologist -- can disclose 'knowings' which, while whole in themselves, are incommensurate with that original knowing (revealing aspects of the 'activity' of that holon -- part of the everything that can be attributed to the subject, at least if we take a meta-perspective and try to synthesize the multiple perspectives we can take on the holon -- that do not show up in the 'whole' of the original knowing being discussed).


The above paragraph has lots of qualifications and asides in it, so I hope it wasn't too cryptic or hard to follow.  I'll come back to it if I've not been clear in getting my meaning across.


On another note, I just wanted to ask you if you've ever heard of the intersubjectivist psychologists, Atwood and Stolorow?  If not, I'll link an article by them in case you're interested in checking it out.  While there are differences between your approach and theirs, I think you might resonate with some of their insights.



Shattered Worlds/Psychotic States




Your “intuition” reminds me of this post discussing Plato's “hybrid or bastard reasoning” requisite for apprehending khora, the latter which “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.”


On p. 2 of that thread I linked to this article, which suggests that the bastard reasoning which apprehends khora is "as if in a dream," quoting the Timaeus. This is extended into artistic creation and divination, both through inspiration from the divine. I would concede that indeed the apprehension is through this type of creative inspiration but that the source is not some essential ground but rather our very embodiment, and it is our unconscious wisdom coming through, both bodily and socio-culturally via the lifeworld (Habermas, for example). The latter are in fact various layers of "embodiment" we discussed earlier, from physical to social to hermeneutic (Levin also talks about this).


The entire thread compares Wilber's notions of consciousness per se with Derrida's bastard apprehension of khora and highlights for me the differences between the metaphysical and postmeta ways to look at the issue. Issues still rocking my lifeworld when such topics are brought up.

Yes, I hear you; this insight rings home with me.  Tying back, of course, to our earlier discussions where you kept pushing me to name the non-enacted.  What is 'implicate' to enaction?  I agree that enaction is differentiation-in-process, and using the term multiplicity -- following on some themes recently explored in this text and thread -- such multiplication, yes, seems to imply a deep relational unity or inseparability.


On a side note, where I kept struggling with your question to me is around 'naming' the non-enacted, since 'naming' is already differentiation/enaction.  I can see, within the context of an articulated 'enactive' worldview, there will necessarily be implied the 'non-enacted' -- as a grace or gift, 'always already,' a sort of IOU to the Kosmos.  But because it is 'twin-born,' it also appears to be 'enaction-dependent' and therefore, to the extent that I 'name' it, also an 'enaction' (as a 'given' in the context of such enaction).  They're tangled up.  Can you see what I'm saying?  Or perhaps see through it to something I'm not seeing?


Thomas said:

Oh, and btw, unity on my view above is not enacted (caused), difference is.  This would be the unity of cause and non-cause, or the non-causal unity of the caused mumble mumble fzzzt.

Tom:  I think you're right that any descriptive saying assumes an enacted worldframe, but that to which a saying points when it says "unity" is outside enaction.  Given is close, but even that word implies an action or movement, of giving.


Yes, this is what I meant by using the word, 'tangled' (playfully using and stretching the quantum term, entanglement, which also evokes for me something like Merleau-Ponty's intertwining).  Toggling frames, you can say both that 'unity' is outside enaction (as its implicate, non-enacted ground) and that 'unity' is enacted (to the extent that 'unity' plays a role as a categorical distinction in one's worldview or discussion of reality).  At least, this is how I can see this at present.  Is this close to what you are saying?


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