Thursday, February 26, 2015

Additional Comments on Enhanced and Diminished Stages

In a previous blog entry, "Enhanced and Diminished Stages", I indicated how an enhanced appreciation of a "lower" stage can arise from the perspective afforded by a corresponding "higher" stage.

Thus as development though the various stages of the psychological spectrum properly unfolds, one is led to repeatedly modify one's interpretation of the "lower" stages already developed.  

However what  perhaps I did not fully emphasise in this entry, is that it also works in reverse, so that with the progressive development of "higher" stages, the interpretation of these, too, continually changes, through the modified perspective afforded by the revisited "lower" stages.

In other words, the process of vertical integration with respect to all stages works in two directions.

Thus we can have top-down integration, where the "lower" are modified from the perspective of later attained "higher" stages.
However, equally we can have bottom-up integration, where the "higher" are modified from the perspective of earlier attained "lower" stages.

Perhaps it would help to illustrate these two direction with respect to the concrete (conop) and formal (formop) levels that are associated in my approach with Band 2 on the spectrum.

Now in developmental terms, Level 1 (concrete) will be the first to unfold, which in a scientific context would be associated with empirical sense data.

Then all going well, Level 2 (formal) will later unfold, which again in scientific terms would be associated with more generalised abstract theories and hypotheses.

So in this context, Level 1 (concrete) represents the "lower" and Level 2 (formal) the - relatively -   "higher" stage.

Now when Level 1 initially unfolds, this provides the default interpretation of the stage. So this could indeed be associated with a wide range of empirical data. However the ability to organise such data into meaningful patterns (beyond a superficial level) would still remain very limited.

However when Level 2 then substantially unfolds, this leads to the ability to form meaningful abstract hypotheses of an increasingly general nature. And the initial substantial unfolding of Level 2 then likewise constitutes the default understanding of this formal stage!

So then when the scientist now returns to study relevant research data from this "higher" stage, a greatly enhanced appreciation could then arise (e.g. as confirmation of a general hypothesis).

This would therefore represent an example of top-down integration, where an enhanced interpretation of the "lower" concrete stage, arises from the perspective of the "higher" formal stage attained.

Indeed if we take the work of Einstein to illustrate, his two theories of relativity, offer a marvellous example of this "top-down" approach. Thus, from a few general principles, he was able to formulate a new theory universally applicable to global space-time relationships.

Thus when scientists then later sought to apply these theories to long unexplained empirical facts, e.g. the orbit of Mercury, they now appeared in a completely new light, as offering wonderful confirmation of the new theory.

However Einstein in his earlier career equally provided a striking example of the alternative "bottom-up" approach.

Here, rather than initially developing a new abstract theory that conflicted with established data, in his quantum physical studies on the photo-electric effect, Einstein observed striking new data that clearly were in conflict with established theory.

So, in the early 1900's when Einstein carried out this work, the accepted theory was that light is composed of waves. However by carefully observing the impact of light on electron particles, Einstein quickly realised that the evidence was in conflict with accepted theory. So this gradually led to reluctant acceptance of a new theoretical explanation of light as composed of particles.

Indeed ultimately the attempt to make sense of all the various experiments on light was to lead to an even stranger theory where light possessed complementary manifestations as both waves and particles!

Thus in this latter case (of Einstein and the photo-electric effect) the revised "lower" concrete stage of experimental data, led to a new enhanced interpretation of the "higher" formal stage where existing accepted theory was now clearly shown to be inadequate.

The clear implication of full acceptance of both top-down and bottom-up approaches is that ultimately "lower" and "higher" (like "left" and "right" turns at a crossroads) are purely relative terms.

So the attainment of complete union (in both physical and psychological terms), as the ultimate goal of development, is without any hierarchy (of a one-directional kind).

Unfortunately the intellectual clarification of the spectrum of development, invariably suffers from lack of a true appreciation of circular complementarity. This is always associated with an over-emphasis on dualistic type distinctions.
Any dualistic statement  is however always limited in that it attempts to establish meaning unambiguously (i.e. from just one direction). However when reference frames are switched, which continually occurs in the actual dynamics of experience, an equally valid unambiguous statement can also be made (from the opposite direction).

This is why in my binary approach to development, I place strong emphasis on both the linear and circular aspects of stage development.

Thus from a transcendent perspective, the formop stage is higher (in linear terms) that conop. However when we switch reference frames, from an immanent perspective, the conop is now higher than formop!

So when we attempt to dynamically reconcile both perspectives, we must adopt a circular (paradoxical) position where "higher and "lower" are merely relative (depending on context).

However to properly appreciate this circular aspect, one must equally emphasise, as illustrated in this blog entry, both the top-down (transcendent) and bottom-up (immanent) aspects of development.
And once again, the focus in intellectual studies is generally firmly placed on the former (as in the emphasis on "transcend and include") with the immanent aspect mentioned as an afterthought and therefore not properly integrated with the transcendent.

The diminished appreciation of stages, equally applies from both vertical directions.

So we mentioned in the previous blog entry on this subject, how a diminished appreciation of a "higher" stage can occur from the perspective of a corresponding "lower" stage. This would be associated with a momentary type of "peak" experience.

So for example one could have a diminished temporary exposure to the subtle level (i.e. Band 3, Level 1) from the complementary mythic level (i.e. Band 1, Level 3).

And it is important to state that this could apply to both temporary states and temporary structures, as both states and structures are dynamically interdependent in development.

However, one can equally have a diminished appreciation of a revisited "lower" stage, from the perspective of a substantially attained "higher" stage.  This would be associated with a corresponding  type of "valley" experience.

I have mentioned before how a spiritually mature person, when under sufficient stress, for example, could easily momentarily lapse back to more infantile appreciation.

For example such a person - say again at the subtle level - may typically understand religious myths in a non-literal fashion (as representative of important spiritual truths).

However, it is certainly possible that a temporary lapse could occur in proclaiming an over-literal interpretation, for example, when defending their religious beliefs against outside attack.

And again this diminished interpretation could apply to both states and structures. In fact it is perhaps more likely to apply to structures (as I can readily testify from experience).

For example when engaged in vigorous debate with someone holding opposing views, one may place too much emphasis on dualistic distinctions, which may seem  at the time persuasive, while later keenly realising, from a spiritual contemplative perspective, that all such distinctions are ultimately of a strictly relative nature..

Monday, February 16, 2015

Levels and Sub-Levels

As already outlined I use the word "Band" to refer to the most general classification of stages, with the overall spectrum composed of seven such bands.

I then use the term "Level" to refer to next most general classification, with each band consisting of three major levels. This would thereby entail that the full spectrum would be composed of 21 major levels!

However each level can then be fruitfully viewed as composed of three further sub-levels.

So this blog entry briefly addresses the nature of the sub-levels.

In general terms, development at each level goes through three distinct stages, which in practice can considerably overlap.

Thus firstly we have the emergence (with respect to each level) of more superficially based "parts" in what psychologically entails sense based perceptions of reality. We can refer to this as the Concrete sub-level.

Then later, with the relative consolidation of this stage, the more generalised "wholes" now begin to emerge in what psychologically in turn entails deeper mental based concepts. This is turn relates to the Formal sub-level.

Finally with both concrete and formal development consolidated to a sufficient degree, the two-way interaction of both can begin to unfold in a fruitful manner. Because this relates to the dynamic interaction of wholes and parts it generates intuitive energy, leading to the most creative manifestation of the stage. Therefore I refer to this as the Visionary sub-level.
One may note here that I have also used these same terms to refer to the main Levels of Band 2.
However Band 2 represents an exceptional case where no real distinction can be made as between its Levels and corresponding Sub-Levels. This is due to the fact that as it is defined - especially in scientific terms - merely in a conscious analytic manner, interaction with holistic aspects (which leads to the division as between Levels and Sub-Levels) thereby does not take place!

All going well, the culmination of development (through the third stage) with respect to the level in question, then leads to a crucial transformation with respect to experience, that leads on to the next level (in linear terms).

For example, I will briefly illustrate here with respect to the first of the contemplative levels i.e. Band 3 (Level 1).

So the first unfolding in experience of this level is with respect to its Concrete sub-level.

So super-sensory perceptions (of both an affective and cognitive nature) unfold (characterised as we have seen, by the dynamic complementarity as between external and internal polarities).

Then following appropriate development of this stage, deeper supra-rational conceptual structures emerge at the Formal sub-level (again characterised by the dynamic complementarity of external and internal polarities).

Finally, following appropriate development of this stage, both the super-perceptions and super-concepts themselves can dynamically interact more freely with each other (in a two-way fashion).

However because this Level, by its very nature is already characterised intensely by spiritual intuition, this entails that this final sub-level will be of the most purely contemplative variety with little attachment remaining to "real" conscious symbols (either concrete or formal) of a dualistic variety.

Then with conscious experience, now so much eroded through the development of this overall level (Level 1) this then paves the way for the corresponding unfolding of Level 2, where experience is now largely of an "imaginary" nature, representing the indirect phenomenal expression of the unconscious aspect of personality.

So all going well, if the appropriate dynamics properly unfold (with respect to three sub-levels of each level), then the associated transformation should unfold, enabling development to now move on to the next available level (and ultimately the next overall band with respect to the spectrum).

This therefore raises the highly important point, as to why development in modern society tends to heavily plateau at Band 2, with very little further specialised experience of later bands.

The reason for this is very revealing indeed and highlights from yet another perspective the severe limitations of the conventional scientific (and mathematical) viewpoint.

As we have seen, the vertical type development through the sub-levels of a given level, represent in turn the key relationship as between parts and wholes. So once again, in psychological terms the perceptions (as parts) first unfold in a concrete fashion. Then the concepts (as wholes) later unfold in a generalised formal manner. Then finally we have the dynamic interaction of parts and wholes (and wholes and parts) in a more intuitive and thereby visionary type of awareness.

The key factor in terms of the successful transition to the next level (and ultimately next band) is that parts and wholes are implicitly understood as - relatively - quantitative and qualitative with respect to each other.

Now with earlier development at the three levels of Band 1, this in fact is the case due to the fact that both conscious and unconscious aspects of understanding - though still necessarily confused to a degree with each other - still however interact, implicitly entailing both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

However with the three levels of Band 2, increasing specialisation occurs with respect to the merely conscious aspect of understanding.

And in mathematical and scientific terms, this reduced conscious aspect of understanding is identified with merely the quantitative interpretation of symbols.

For example it might be instructive to take the fundamental notion of number to illustrate!

If a mathematician refers to an actual  number perception such as "2", this will be interpreted in quantitative terms. Now the corresponding concept of number applies - relatively - to the potential notion of number which is strictly of a qualitative infinite nature (and directly provided through unconscious intuition).

However this qualitative notion becomes immediately reduced in a merely quantitative manner as applying to all actual numbers.

So now both the number perception and concept are both understood in merely rational (quantitative) terms.

This equally applies to all conventional scientific interpretation

And because such scientific understanding has become so strongly established as "truth" in our society, this means that the qualitative aspect gets largely edited out of understanding altogether, through the over-specialised use of (conscious) reason.

Therefore, the necessary degree of interaction of both conscious and unconscious, which is vital to enable development proceed into the "higher" contemplative bands, is inadequate with respect to conventional understanding.

However in a minority of cases, the full unfolding of contemplative type understanding can still occur. This is largely due to the fact that the unconscious aspect is inherently very strong in such personalities, thereby causing considerable conflict with respect to the premature specialisation of reason.

Thus when others are readily fitting in with the expectations of adult society, these few can experience a major existential crisis that prepares them for the spiritual transformation to come.

Even for an individual as gifted as Einstein, one would have to conclude that he did not proceed significantly beyond the Visionary stage of Band 2.

Remember that the key feature of Band 3 (even at Level 1) is the clear recognition that "objective truth" has no strict meaning in absolute terms, but rather that all external "objects" necessarily reflect the corresponding internal "interpretation"  in a necessarily relative manner.

So "Relativity" does not simply apply to the objective nature of space and time (as Einstein brilliantly showed). It equally applies to all mental interpretation of such space and time (which only becomes clear however through "higher" contemplative development). And the very notion of "objective determinism" is incompatible with such development (except in an arbitrary relative manner).

So the need to develop a much more comprehensive scientific (and mathematical) worldview involving analytic, holistic and radial interpretations is not just important in its own right!

It is also vitally necessary to facilitate the unfolding of the full spectrum of development.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Holistic Science (4)

As at the earlier level (Band 3, Level 1) an exciting new phase of holistic scientific discovery, with respect to Level 2, now unfolded over a period of about 5 years (from the early to the mid 80's). This entailed as before an amalgam of  Spirituality, Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Studies and of course Economics (in which subject I lectured at the Dublin Institute of Technology).

In fact I initially had plans to return to an earlier ambition by seeking approval for a doctorate regarding the application of a new dynamic methodology to the understanding of Economics.

However I quickly discovered what little appetite existed in academic circles for a proposal that was by its very nature of a deeply holistic nature (employing novel new concepts).

In fact, I now find it hard to see how truly original work can properly arise in an academic context, where peer-group approval is vital in terms of achieving recognition .

For, if what one is proposing is indeed of a truly original nature, then, by definition, the relevant peer-group will not exist to properly assess one's offering!

So the accepted academic structure for doctorate proposals is heavily weighted towards topics attempting marginal progress with respect to established conventional wisdom (within increasingly specialised discipline areas).

While accepting the value of such research, as a means of continually extending knowledge - though necessarily in a somewhat fragmented manner - the academic system is far too conservative, as the radical transformations now taking place in society increasingly require a new integral vision.  

Though lecturing within academic institutions for most of my working life, perhaps paradoxically, I have always viewed myself as a considerable outsider with respect to its accepted customs and enclosed mind-set. So, I no longer seek "academic approval" for views but rather attempt to communicate with those that can properly resonate with my distinctive position (and who thereby constitute the appropriate peer-group in this context).

Economics, though an important social science, still operates within a reduced theoretical paradigm, that essentially arose as an extension to Newtonian Physics.

So central to the working of  the "free" market system is the notion of the "price mechanism" which supposedly is designed to bring about equilibrium in every market.

However, because of the linear approach adopted, the true dynamics of market behaviour are considerable misrepresented. Thus the emphasis is heavily weighted towards consideration of the external workings of markets in an impersonal fashion (with the internal personal responsibility of those participants in the markets conveniently overlooked).

Then equally, in terms of the second key polarity set, the emphasis in present Economics is likewise heavily weighted towards the quantitative aspect (in what can be measured). However there is equally a qualitative aspect to all economic decisions that again does not receive corresponding recognition.

Thus the preoccupation for example in maintaining overall growth in (quantitative) GDP has blinded policy makers to the considerable recent worsening in the (qualitative) distribution of this GDP.
Indeed the continual failure to address the qualitative dimensions of economic growth is now threatening serious social and political unrest in many countries!

So, in the 4-dimensional model  that I then proposed, all important economic concepts (e.g. markets and scarcity) would be re-defined in an inherently dynamic manner. Thus from one perspective, the (internal) responsibility of those taking economic decisions would be balanced with the manifest (external) behaviour resulting. Equally from another perspective, the quantitative dimensions of  economic behaviour (e.g. GDP) would be balanced with the qualitative effects resulting (e.g. changing distribution).

Central to maintaining balance as between these four aspects was an explicit moral dimension, which would properly underlie every economic decision.

From this perspective therefore, the present attempt to portray market behaviour as merely the impersonal workings of supply and demand (measured in a quantitative manner) is clearly untenable.

Thus, we are slowly witnessing the breakdown in society of an economic mind-set that is becoming increasingly inadequate with respect to the truly global dimensions of decisions now required.

Satisfactorily addressing these issues will require a developed holistic - rather than mere analytic ability - which amazingly is not yet even recognised in formal scientific terms!

Another key personal  area of interest related to the stages of development.
During this time I became increasingly aware of the important complementary vertical dimensions of psychological development (based on recognition of the second key polarity set of whole and part).

Thus the continual unfolding of "higher" stages of spiritual development, equally requires the continual corresponding return in complementary fashion to "lower" stages, where physical instinctive behaviour (earlier repressed) can now be released.

Failure to properly recognise this return to "earlier" stages, leads to a very unbalanced approach, where the emphasis is primarily on the transcendent aspects of behaviour.
Put another way, it leads to emphasis on the "top-down" approach to psychological integration (where one attempts to integrate all "lower" stages from the perspective of the "higher").

However, for balanced integration, equal emphasis needs to be placed on the immanent - relatively - physical direction.
This then leads to emphasis on the "bottom-up" aspect of integration, where one now attempts to integrate all "higher" stages from the perspective of the uncovered "lower" stage (i.e. where earlier repressed elements are now released).

However, though gradually realising the complementary importance of the immanent direction, during the later stages of the spiritual ascent towards unity, the transcendent direction is likely to remain dominant. This then necessitates the need for a corresponding descent (through the same stages) where the immanent direction is appropriately strengthened (i.e. to fully balance the transcendent).

In relations to Holstic Physics, I made a corresponding linkage (that potentially is of considerable importance).

From this perspective, the sub-atomic levels of matter represent the "lower" stages of physical development. Therefore they are in a complementary relationship with the corresponding "high-level" contemplative experience of macro physical reality (where dualistic divisions between polarities are considerably eroded).

Therefore to understand the dynamic relationship as between (internal) observer and (external) observed  with respect to a sub-atomic particle, we must use the dynamic complementary understanding of polar opposites (that occurs at Band 3, Level 1)

Then to further understand the dynamic behaviour of both the wave and particle aspects of such a particle, we now need the dynamic interpretation of the additional set of whole/ part polarities (that occurs at Band 3 Level 2). Thus from a dynamic perspective, waves and particles are real and imaginary with respect to each other, so that when one aspect (e.g. wave) is manifest in a "real" manner, the corresponding aspect (in this case particle) is now - relatively - "imaginary" in nature.

Thus there is an important vertical complementarity involved linking corresponding "high-level" and "low-level" physical stages.

Thus at the "higher-level" one psychologically interprets macro physical reality in terms of the dynamic interaction of opposite polarities.

Then at the corresponding "low-level" one physically interprets micro physical reality in terms of the dynamic interaction of the same polarities.

Thus the present huge difficulty in appreciating quantum physics in an intuitively accessible manner arises from the fact that interpretation is heavily confined to linear i.e. 1-dimensional, rational interpretation of independently existing phenomena (based on absolute separation of polar opposites).

However, true holistic appreciation (that is thereby seen as intuitively obvious) requires appropriate "higher-dimensional" understanding (i.e. in 2-dimensional and 4-dimensional terms).    

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Holistic Science (3)

I soon realised that the clarification of the four fundamental polarities, in holistic mathematical fashion, leads to an alternative view of the nature of space and time, which is properly in keeping with the true dynamics of experience.

In fact, the deeper rationale of this lies in the appreciation of the neglected holistic aspect of the number system.

Again, properly understood in a dynamic interactive manner, there are two aspects to the number system, that are analytic (quantitative) and holistic (qualitative) with respect to each other.

Whereas the quantitative aspect of the natural numbers is customarily represented in a linear fashion (as the number line), the corresponding qualitative aspect - in relative terms - is properly represented by various equidistant points on the unit circle (drawn in the complex plane).

So from this perspective, the number 4, for example, can be represented in two ways, that are dynamically complementary. In quantitative terms we have the linear notion of 4 (represented by 4 equal units on the number line). However in qualitative terms, we have the circular notion of 4 (represented by 4 equidistant points on the unit circle).
    So when for example, Marie Louse Franz stated that  "Jung devoted practically all of his life to the importance of the number 4", it is this holistic circular notion of 4 that she had in mind.

    Though not yet properly recognised, the circular notion is directly related to the true inherent notion of 4-dimensional. So from this perspective, the four equidistant points (representing the four roots of 1) define the dynamic nature of space and time (in both physical and psychological terms).

    Now the customary quantitative notions of space and time deeply reflect the 1-dimensional interpretative lens (through which they are viewed)!

    So time is seen as strictly 1-dimensional, with just one direction of movement.  The remaining 3 dimensions are then directly associated with the rigid features of matter in space (in a quantitative manner).

    However from the true 4-dimensional perspective, space and time both have four directions, that dynamically interact with each other in a complementary fashion.

    So there are two real dimensions (i.e. directions) of space, that are positive and negative and two imaginary dimensions, that are also positive and negative with respect to each other .

    Equally with respect to time, there are two real dimensions, that are positive and negative and two imaginary directions, that are positive and negative with respect to each other.

    And when space manifests itself in a real fashion, time thereby manifests itself in a complementary imaginary manner (and vice versa). This implies that the dynamic switching as between wholes and parts always implies the corresponding dynamic switching as between existence in space and time (and vice versa in time and space). Likewise the dynamic switching as between external and internal aspects, implies the corresponding switching in time and space of positive and negative polarities (and vice versa).

    So from the physical perspective, the meaningful dynamic interaction of all phenomena necessarily entails both quantitative (analytic) and qualitative (holistic) aspects in a two-way fashion.

    From the corresponding psychological perspective, this dynamic interaction of phenomena again necessarily entails both (conscious) rational and (unconscious) intuitive aspects.

    Furthermore, this interaction entails both cognitive and affective aspects of experience, in dynamic two-way fashion with each other. So, strictly the recognition of whole/part interaction in a scientific context, necessarily entails cognitive and affective aspects of experience, that operate in both an internal and external manner.

    And when existence in space is identified with the cognitive aspect, then corresponding existence in time implies a switch to the affective aspect. However when reference frames change direction, existence in time will now be identified with the cognitive and existence in space with the affective aspect respectively. Thus space and time can be associated with either cognitive or affective aspects of understanding, depending on context.

    And furthermore, the phenomena that exist in space and time mirror exactly the same 4-dimensional relationships in a complementary manner.

    Let me briefly attempt to illustrate these 4-dimensional dynamics with respect to the recognition of an external phenomenon - say - a cat.

    Now, when one externally posits the cat as a (conscious) object phenomenon (in a spatial environment) the corresponding (unconscious) negation of the cat entails the holistic positing of space (with respect to the cat).

    And when this initial impersonal experience of the object in space is of a cognitive nature, corresponding affective experience relates to the personal recognition of the object in time.

    This in turn causes a switch in experience so that one now (consciously) posits the cat as an object phenomenon (in a time environment).  And again the corresponding (unconscious) negation of the cat entails the holistic positing of time (with respect to the cat).

    And this will now coincide in complementary fashion with the (personal) affective experience of the object in space.

    Thus in the dynamics of experience, the object (as personal or impersonal) does not pre-exist in a given environment of space and time! Rather through the dynamics of understanding, both the recognition of the cat (from both personal and impersonal perspectives) and the corresponding dimensions of space and time mutually arise in a dynamic interactive manner.

    Now of course, if we could perfectly experience these complementary dynamics, in a pure refined manner, the dualistic phenomenon of the cat (in space and time) would no longer even appear to arise in experience. Rather we would remain continually aware of the (nondual) present moment.

    Therefore the circular 4-dimensional appreciation, that I am outlining here, can only approximate, however finely, to pure nondual experience of the present moment.

    However, when in scientific terms, we then reduce the experience in a linear (1-dimensional) fashion, we become cognitively aware of the cat as rigidly existing, in a seemingly pre-existing framework of 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time.

    Though of course some degree of linear reductionism still exists at this level (i.e. Band 3, Level 2), to a remarkable extent, it can become steadily eroded through the growing appreciation of the dynamic 4-dimensional framework underlying the experience.

    However this requires that surface consciousness is now already so refined through contemplative development, that one can continually remain aware of the unconscious dynamics involved.

    Holistic Science (2)

    In yesterday's  blog entry, I showed the importance of the first set of fundamental polarities, i.e. external and internal, which in a dynamic complementary manner conditions all phenomenal experience of life.

    I then indicated how appreciation of such complementarity, that dramatically unfolds during Level 1 (i.e. The Circular Level) of Band 3, leads to a distinctly new type of scientific (and mathematical) appreciation that is of a qualitative - rather than quantitative - nature.

    I customarily refer to these as Holistic Science and Holistic Mathematics respectively.

    However during Level 2 (The Point Level) of Band 3 the additional unfolding of the second set of (fundamental) polarities also takes place in a dramatic fashion.

    This second set relates to the dynamic relationship as between wholes and parts. This also manifests itself as the relationship (in any relevant context) as between general and particular, collective and individual, "higher" and "lower", analytic and holistic, qualitative and quantitative etc.  

    In conventional understanding, a great deal of reductionism is involved with respect to this relationship. Thus in scientific and - especially -  mathematical terms, the qualitative aspect is grossly reduced in merely quantitative fashion. This leads to the accepted common sense notion of the whole (in any context) as representing the (quantitative) sum of its various parts.
    Indeed the very meaning of "analytic" as applied to scientific interpretation, directly implies this reduced notion of the relationship of wholes and parts.

    The key underlying factor for this reduced understanding is the attempt in explain reality in a merely conscious manner (that is directly identified with the linear use of reason).

    However in the dynamics of understanding, the unconscious necessarily interacts with the conscious aspect. This implies the corresponding interaction of (holistic) intuition and (analytic) reason in the dynamic interchange as between wholes and parts (and in reverse manner, parts and wholes).

    In the context of the "higher" contemplative development of Band 3, understanding is now sufficiently refined. that one can properly interpret, in scientific manner, this key relationship between wholes and parts.

    I have mentioned before how at this time I developed a strong resonance with Jungian psychology, and it was indirectly, through consideration of his treatment of the 4 basic functions, that I could resolve the issue with an exciting new clarity.

    Jung - though not specifically addressing the issue in this manner - used language and concepts that readily lend themselves to holistic mathematical interpretation.

    So he described two rational functions, directly of a conscious nature, i.e. thinking and feeling and two irrational functions, directly of an unconscious nature, i.e. sense and intuition.

    Now I had already come to interpret the first set of polarities (external and internal) as the holistic mathematical interpretation of the two roots of 1.  In other words, external and internal represent poles that are positive (+ 1) and negative ( – 1) with respect to each other (which continually switch in a dynamic experiential fashion).

    I now realised that the combined two sets of polarities could be interpreted as the holistic equivalent of the four roots of 1. So I begin to see that conscious and unconscious, in the dynamic switching between wholes and parts (and whole and parts), are in holistic mathematical terms "real" and "imaginary" with respect to each other.

    There is always a degree to which polarities are relatively independent and also relatively interdependent with respect to each other.

    For example when one identifies an object as external (in a conscious rational manner) external and internal are therefore necessarily separated (with respect to such recognition).

    However equally to a degree, one is implicitly aware of the necessary interaction between poles, which assumes a common shared relationship. And recognition of the shared identity of both poles is of an unconscious intuitive nature!

    In direct terms, this unconscious fusion remains hidden from consciousness (in a nondual fashion). However, indirectly, it projects itself into experience in an "imaginary" fashion (which precisely represents the holistic mathematical notion of "imaginary").

    Thus, when we properly view experience, as entailing the interaction of both conscious and unconscious aspects, all experience is therefore of a complex nature (in holistic mathematical terms).

    For example if one plans to buy a new house, one can identify this object in a conscious (i.e. real) manner. However equally - perhaps to a considerable - degree, the house will embody a deeper holistic aspect (ultimately reflecting the hidden unconscious desire for meaning). And this latter aspect represents the imaginary (indirectly conscious) aspect.

    This is equally true of mathematical experience. A number theorist may indeed believe that the symbols used, can be interpreted in a real (i.e. rational) manner. However the very pursuit of this type of knowledge, will inevitably reflect a deeper holistic desire for meaning. So the imaginary aspect thereby becomes necessarily embodied in all the abstract symbols used, thus colouring the direction - and indeed interpretation - of mathematical truth in many ways (which the participant may not readily acknowledge).

    So in the switching from wholes to parts (and in reverse manner part to whole), a decisive imaginary aspect is involved.

    In psychological terms this entails the fundamental switch from concepts to perceptions and perceptions to concepts (which underlies all experience).

    Let us take the - apparently - simple case of recognition of the number "2".

    Now "2" (as in two objects) represents a number perception that is identified in a real conscious manner. Though it is referred to as an integer, it really represents in quantitative terms a part notion where "2" can be identified as part of a larger number collection.

    However the perception of "2" has no meaning in the absence of the concept of number, which potentially applies to all numbers. This potential notion, that is infinite, is unconscious in nature and directly grasped through intuition. However indirectly it enters experience in an imaginary fashion, as the holistic projection of the unconscious notion.

    However the concept of number then becomes quickly reduced with respect to interpretation in a real rational fashion (as applying to all actual numbers).

    From the opposite perspective, in the movement from the concept of number to the number "2", initially a holistic unconscious aspect is involved, where one intuits the potential notion of number as being embodied in the number "2" (in imaginary fashion). However, this again becomes quickly reduced to the actual interpretation of "2" (in a real conscious manner).

    Thus we have now identified in experience, four poles with respect to the number "2", whereby it is identified in both a real (analytic) and imaginary (holistic) fashion with respect to both perceptual and conceptual directions. And in experience, one (consciously) posits perceptions by (unconsciously) negating concepts; equally one posits concepts by negating perceptions

    So, we have identified in a qualitative holistic manner, two real poles and two imaginary poles that are positive and negative with respect to each other.

    Put another way, we have identified "2" as a holon, which dynamically is identified with all four poles of the complex plane (that in geometrical terms divides the unit circle into four equal quadrants).

    In conventional mathematical terms, these four directions (i.e. dimensions) are simply reduced in a linear (1-dimensional) fashion. In other words "2" is treated as an independent existing number in an absolute conscious manner.

    Now mathematicians, if pressed might concede that we cannot have knowledge of number (in the absence of the number concept). However they are unlikely to be interested in such "philosophical" digressions and will just carry on treating number perceptions in a reduced independent fashion. And as for any appreciation that number may entail inescapable holistic considerations (of an unconscious nature), this is unlikely to ever receive consideration!

    We have now identified four fundamental polarities (internal/external and whole/part) that fundamentally underlie all phenomenal experience (including as I have illustrated, mathematical).

    Furthermore, we have shown that these four poles interact in a dynamic manner, that is perfectly represented through the holistic mathematical interpretation of the four roots of 1.

    So for every phenomenon, we have now literally defined a new 4-dimensional holistic framework based on twin real (analytic) complementary polarities, that are positive and negative with respect to each other and likewise twin imaginary (holistic) complementary polarities, that are likewise positive and negative with respect to each other.

    These equally apply to all physical and all psychological relationships (which are themselves now seen as complementary).

    This scientific understanding (of a qualitative kind), which is very much representative in my framework of development with Band 3 (Level 2), has far reaching consequences.

    Properly understood therefore, we cannot, in any context, physical or psychological, explain the dynamic relationship of wholes and parts in the absence of holistic appreciation (of a direct unconscious nature). However, indirectly, this holistic aspect can be incorporated in an imaginary rational manner.

    So from this new perspective, all reality is now scientifically understood in a qualitative complex rational manner (comprising real and imaginary aspects).

    So just as the imaginary notion has now a fully accepted quantitative interpretation in Conventional Mathematics, equally the imaginary notion has an - as yet unrecognised - qualitative interpretation that is inseparable from the proper dynamic appreciation of all phenomenal relationships.  

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    Holistic Science (1)

    One of the key features associated with my personal experience of Level 2 (Band 3) was the unfolding of a new type of scientific understanding that I commonly refer to as Holistic Science.

    Though the possibility for this science long seemed obvious to me, I could find remarkably little evidence by way of coherent articulation in any accounts of the mystical journey that I had encountered.

    Predominantly in these writings, exclusive attention is devoted to the direct spiritual transformation involved, which is then generally communicated through the religious symbolism of a particular tradition.

    However, spiritual transformation itself is necessarily associated with the corresponding transformation of both cognitive and affective structures, which in turn have important implications for the type of scientific and artistic experience that is compatible with each stage.

    And it seemed to me that this dimension of spiritual transformation, especially in respect of its implications for mathematical and scientific type understanding, was of the utmost importance in our present age.
    Therefore it has been my intention throughout the journey - while in no way downplaying the direct significance of spiritual transformation, which is primary - to then focus clearly on the vast implications of such transformation for both Science and Mathematics.

    What we know as Science and Mathematics is largely confined - certainly in its explicit presentation - to the specialised linear type understanding that characterises Band 2, on the overall spectrum of development.

    However  all of the later Bands (i.e. Bands 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) represent further potential development of an increasingly integrated kind.

    And associated with these Bands are distinctive systems of understanding with direct application to Mathematics and all the Sciences.

    So what we know as Science and Mathematics, represents just one possible form which is heavily biased in an analytic quantitative direction. This is associated with Bands 1 and 2 (and especially in its modern accepted form Band 2)!

    However an equally important - and largely unrecognised - form (of both Science and Mathematics) unfolds at Bands 3 and 4, which is now decidedly of a holistic qualitative variety.

    Finally at Bands 5, 6 and 7 yet another form unfolds, which increasingly combines in a two-way dynamic interactive manner, both the analytic (quantitative) and holistic (qualitative) aspects that initially unfolded in a somewhat separate manner.

    Therefore in broad terms, I define three major types with respect to Mathematics and Science i.e. Analytic (Bands 1 and 2), Holistic (Bands 3 and 4) and Radial (Bands 5, 6 and 7).

    So with respect to Band 3, the focus is now on Holistic Science (and Holistic Mathematics) respectively.

    Indeed, distinctive varieties of both are associated with each of the three major levels of the Band.

    With Level 1, (horizontal) external and internal polarities are understood in an increasingly complementary fashion. In this context, I use the term horizontal in the manner of the real axis in Mathematics which has positive and negative directions! So at every stage, what is viewed in an external manner can be given - in relative fashion - an internal counterpart.

    One implication of this - as we have seen - is that both the psychological and physical aspects of experience are themselves understood as dynamically complementary.

    Therefore, it no longer makes sense to talk merely of the stages of psychological development in an internal personal manner, as associated with the internal aspect of each stage is a corresponding external aspect which - relatively - is of a physical nature.

    Therefore, when properly understood, every stage represents a new development with respect to both the psychological and physical aspects of reality.

    And it is not merely that one's psychological understanding of the physical world becomes more refined at each stage, but rather that the physical world itself (which, now has no strict meaning independent of the psychological observer) undergoes transformation.

    To a certain extent this point may be reluctantly conceded with respect to the nature of physical reality at its sub-atomic quantum level. However it is equally true of physical reality at the macro level, where genuine contemplative experience is involved.

    So one no longer views the physical world in a detached objective manner, but rather accepts that all reality is profoundly of a psycho-physical nature, where the external and internal aspects of understanding are dynamically complementary.

    Thus each "higher" stage on the contemplative journey represents not only a transformation with respect to one's psychological experience, but equally a transformation with respect to physical reality!

    Indeed the very nature of Holistic Science - as I define it - is a new way of seeking to interpret reality, whereby one can readily find a complementary psychological, for every physical relationship, and in turn a complementary physical, for every psychological relationship.

    I have already mentioned how Einstein's Special Theory profoundly impacted on me (at Level 1), where I realised that corresponding to the external interpretation of the relativity of space and time, was a complementary internal psychological experience (where both are ultimately understood as fully complementary).

    This insight was eventually to lead me to a radical new notion of the inherent  nature of space and time dimensions (that I will deal with more fully in a later entry).

    I also mentioned how having come out of a severe "dark night" episode, that I could find distinct parallels as between Stephen Hawking's physical descriptions of black hole radiation emissions, through virtual particles and the psychological task of recovery from the "dark night" (through emission of "imaginary" fantasies).

    In particular I began to see how the physical notion of gravity bears a strong complementary relationship with the psychological notion of "grief". And just as the presence of matter (with its consequent gravity) causes curvature with respect to the physical dimensions of physical space and time, the presence of grief (in the loss of what truly "matters" to us) can cause a corresponding curvature in the psychological dimensions of space and time. In other words during such periods, the holistic unconscious begins to seriously impact on conscious life, thereby breaking down its customary rigid categories.

    The mystical goal is to seek unity with spirit, that both transcends and yet is immanent in all physical creation.

    And this spiritual goal should rightly be greatly facilitated through Holistic Science, where one intuitively begins to recognise all important physical and psychological relationships in a dynamic complementary manner.

    Indeed without the support of such qualitative scientific understanding, it is difficult to see how the primary spiritual task of achieving unity can itself be properly achieved!

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Enhanced and Diminished Stages

    I have been very conscious with respect to recent blog entries that the perspective I am offering on the 3 Levels (of Band 3) represents a modification somewhat on how I would have represented these some years ago.

    In other words. an evolution continually takes place in development with respect to all possible stages.

    Therefore to attempt to clarify, I generally refer to the understanding that unfolds during the initial phase of substantial development of a stage, as the default understanding of that stage. However as further development unfolds (with the movement to higher stages) the possibility for enhanced awareness with respect to earlier stages occurs (as these earlier stages become more integrated with overall development).

    For example if we confine ourselves to the 3 major (linear) levels of Band 2 to illustrate, we can refer to these as the Concrete, Formal and Visionary Levels respectively.

    In scientific terms, the Concrete level entails the ability to interpret empirical data within a linear type framework. Thus the first substantial unfolding of this Level represents the default development with respect to the stage. However later in development, this typically gives way to the Formal Level where the ability to apply more general conceptual constructs in a linear manner unfolds. So this in turn represents default development with respect to this corresponding Formal Level. However when backward linkage now takes place with the earlier Concrete Level, an enhanced awareness with respect to that stage takes place.

    So typically in Science, research activity (in the collection and processing of relevant data) will depend heavily on the concrete stage whereas the development of theories and hypotheses will depend on the formal stage. However when one then seeks to apply such theories to the data, a new enhanced appreciation of the nature of such data can emerge e.g. where one develops an increasing ability to recognise appropriate data (with respect to the testing of hypotheses).

    And then if development further unfolds into the Visionary Level stage - with the default understanding of this stage now emerging - this can then later be linked with both the preceding Formal and Concrete Levels to obtain perhaps a new original perspective on how both the theory and data can be interpreted.

    So in a certain sense when the substantial unfolding of later stages takes place, the possibility for continual enhanced development with respect to all earlier stages arises. And this in principle applies broadly to both the major Bands and Levels (and all the various sub-stages within each level).

    So therefore with respect for example to the Band 2 (with its linear type levels), we do not have just the default understanding of this Band (as it initially unfolds) but also enhanced interpretations from the perspective of the later Bands (i.e. Bands 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7).

    Thus in a very valid sense, Band 2 (with its various levels and sub-levels) is in the process of continual evolution throughout development. Thus we cannot properly refer rigidly to the absolute interpretation that applies to this Band  (as for example is generally assumed with respect to conventional mathematical and scientific understanding)!
    Rather our perspective on mathematical and scientific understanding should continually evolve through the (full) process of development rendering it - while not lessening its value - strictly of an arbitrary relative nature.

    However some further degree of refinement is now required.

    In the most basis holistic binary sense, all development entails the interaction of linear (conscious) and circular (unconscious) aspects. Alternatively, these correspond to the analytic and holistic aspects that are represented in a qualitative binary manner by 1 and 0 respectively!

    Now Band 1 commences from total confusion (where 1 and 0 cannot be properly distinguished).

    So this Band (with its 3 main Levels) represents the gradual movement from a confused state to the full differentiation of 1, i.e. the linear (conscious) aspect.

    Then Band 2 (with its 3 levels) represents the specialised development of 1.

    Then Band 3 operates in a reverse manner to Band 1 in moving from this developed state of rational conscious development (1) to a mature intuitive (unconscious) state (as 0).

    Band 4 then represents the specialised development with respect to such intuitive contemplative awareness (0).

    Band 5 represents the gradual descent from sole specialisation of 0 (intuitive consciousness) to the integrated fusion of both linear (conscious) and circular (unconscious aspects (i.e. both 1 and 0).

    Then Band 6 and 7 represent  the specialised development with respect to both 1 and 0 (in what I term radial activity).

    So there are always two aspects to enhancement that are linear (analytic) and circular (holistic) with respect to each other.

    Furthermore whereas linear enhancement tends to occur in a sequential fashion, circular enhancement occurs in a paradoxical complementary manner.

    The question then arises as to the manner for example that Band 3 can be viewed as an enhancement of earlier Bands.

    Now as we have seen, this is complementary to Band 1 in the movement to pure unconscious awareness (of a holistic kind) whereas Band 1 commences from the opposite state.

    Therefore we can validly say that the 3 levels of Band 3 offer an enhanced interpretation of the more confused earlier unfolding of the 3 Levels of Band 1.

    So the lowest level i.e. Level 1 of Band 3 (i.e. the Circular Level) is complementary with the highest Level of Band 1 (Mythic) thereby offering a refined understanding of the true meaning of earlier mythic understanding.

    The middle level i.e. Level 2 of Band 3 (i.e. the Point Level) is complementary with Level 2 of Band 1 (Magic) while the highest Level of Band 3 (Level 3) is complementary with the lowest Level of Band 1 (archaic).

    However I caution to add this is only true with respect to the holistic aspect!

    In fact from the linear perspective, the 3 Levels of Band 3 offer a diminished perspective on the 3 middle Levels.

    In other words during the unfolding of the contemplative stages of Band 3  (where an ever more refined holistic intuitive capacity develops) a marked deterioration with respect to previous linear type abilities may be a temporary consequence. So from this perspective, the stages of Band 3 entail a sharp fall-off in Band 2 type appreciation.

    However, equally it is true that one will obtain an enhanced holistic appreciation of the nature of linear consciousness, as constituting just one type of rational awareness.

    So, increasingly as more circular rational structures unfold (of a paradoxical nature) one better realises that linear rational understanding itself represents the absolute case with respect to an unlimited spectrum, where all further rational understanding is of a dynamic relative nature.

    Thus from this holistic perspective, Band 3 represents an enhanced appreciation of Band 2 structures.

    These two extremes would then become further accentuated at Band 4. So the pure contemplative intuitive vision acquired here, would bear very little relationship with Band 2 in linear terms, while Band 2 would equally show very little relationship with Band 4 (in circular holistic terms).

    As I have already stated Band 5, represents the contemplative descent, that in many ways complements the corresponding contemplative ascent with respect to Band 3.

    Once again at Band 3, one is moving away (in scientific terms) from linear type rational, towards circular type intuitive understanding. However on the descent, the various Levels of Band 3 represent a movement back to linear type understanding (that can now be properly integrated with the contemplative vision).

    Thus the main value of the 3 Levels of Band 5 is that they can provide an enhanced appreciation of the corresponding Levels of Band 3, in both analytic and holistic terms.

    Thus from the contemplative perspective, intuitive awareness is now much more refined with a better balance evident as between transcendent and immanent directions. Equally from the linear rational perspective, one can stand back, as it were and look at these earlier Levels, in a more detached objective fashion.

    However it is only at Bands 6 and 7 (The Radial Bands) that an enhanced view of both Bands 2 and Bands 4 can be properly provided.

    Thus one is now able to view Band 2 (without loss of analytic ability) through the pure contemplative vision (where both can be integrated  in both a highly creative and productive fashion).

    Likewise one is able to view Band 4 (without loss of holistic ability) in a refined rational manner, whereby it becomes fully grounded in every day concerns.

    Of course just as we can have an enhanced view of earlier stages from the more mature standpoint of later development, equally we can, to a degree, form a diminished view of the later stages, from the less mature standpoint of earlier development.

    Though there is indeed a valid sense in which development proceeds in a linear sequence from "lower" to "higher" stages, equally there is a valid sense in which all stages are already always present in development in a complementary circular manner.

    Now, in practice, very little access to the "higher" Levels from earlier stages may be possible in development . However some degree of access - however limited - is indeed possible (which however can depend to a considerable extent on personality factors and special environmental circumstances).

    In many cases this diminished understanding will be in the form of temporary access to "higher" states. And as states (with respect to intuitive capacity) and structures (with respect to phenomenal form) are themselves dynamically complementary throughout development, this entails that diminished access can be equally given to "higher" structures.

    In my own case, at the age of about 10, I had already recognised a fundamental problem with respect to multiplication, in the lack of a qualitative dimension. And even at that time I vaguely realised that the resolution of this problem would require new logical systems (not recognised in conventional mathematical terms).

    I never lost sight of this earlier conviction and am still more than 50 years later clarifying the implications of that discovery.

    So I would interpret this as - not just a "peak" experience of a higher state, but equally - a "peak" experience of "higher" structures (that could only be properly articulated through subsequent development).

    It has often struck me forcibly however that a key problem exists with respect to conventional development where strong - even extreme - specialisation takes place with respect to the Levels (especially Concrete and Formal) of Band 2.

    Because these are explicitly based on mere conscious recognition, this can create a major barrier with respect to the substantial unfolding of the later Bands. Therefore in modern secular culture, development largely plateaus (though not completely) at the Levels of Band 2, with very few ever progressing to substantial experience with respect to the later Bands.

    In fact insofar as these later Bands are experienced (for example with respect to religious understanding) it is generally through the diminished understanding that characterises the Mythical Level.
    It is my considered view that we will now experience growing difficulties in effectively dealing with a host of problems (economic, political and social) that at bottom reflect the over-dominance of Band 2 understanding. The very fact that I am writing in this way on these blogs would perhaps already signify that a recognition of this fundamental problem is already slowly dawning in our society.

    In conclusion - perhaps surprisingly - one can equally experience temporary valleys of earlier confused understanding from the perspective of substantial attainment of the "higher" Bands.

    So for example someone who has already progressed substantially along the contemplative path with - say a typical focus corresponding to Band 3 awareness - could easily for example, when sufficiently stressed, temporarily take refuge in the more infantile reactions that would be associated with Band 1.

    So just as it is possible for someone habitually experiencing at the Band 1 to have temporary "peak" access to Band 3 levels, equally it is possible for someone habitually experiencing at Band 3 to have temporary "valley" access to Band 1 levels.

    So once again a dynamic vertical complementarity characterises both Bands.  

    Thursday, February 5, 2015

    At Home in Nature

    We now move on to deal with the affective characteristics associated with this contemplative level (i.e. Band 3, Level 2). In geometrical terms I refer to this level as the Point Level, in contrast to Level 1 (which I refer to as the Circular Level).

    So at Level 1, the paradoxical interplay of both external and internal polarities operates in an increasingly intense fashion.

    These in turn are the "real" polarities that initially relate to the conscious world of form.

    Thus conscious understanding becomes increasingly circular during this time with the dualistic paradox thereby involved enabling the steady erosion of attachment to conscious symbols.

    In conventional terms the real axis, with respect to a circle drawn in the complex plane, is represented by horizontal lines (drawn in opposite directions from the centre point of the circle).

    Then at Level 2, the further paradoxical interplay of polarities, that are whole and part with respect to each other, likewise begins to operate in an intense fashion.

    These now represent the "imaginary" polarities that relate directly to the holistic unconscious nature of form (that indirectly is projected into experience in a conscious manner).

    These in turn - with respect to the circle - are represented by vertical lines (again drawn in opposite directions through the centre point of the circle).

    Now when Level 2 has significantly unfolded, the significant erosion of attachment to both direct and indirect conscious phenomena will have taken place. So just as the real and imaginary axes converge at the centre point of the circle, likewise in psychological terms, understanding similarly converges towards a central point representing the will (as the basis of volitional capacity).

    This can likewise be envisaged as the point where both conscious and unconscious intersect (as the means of harmonising both aspects).

    Then the arrival at this point, sets the stage for the later unfolding of Level 3 (representing the phenomenal activity associated with the continual attempt to purify volitional intent in the true integrated reconciliation of both conscious and unconscious). Though we are running slightly ahead of ourselves here, I then refer to Level 3 as the Null Level (which likewise has a precise geometrical explanation) where awareness of phenomenal activity - even of a temporary fleeting nature - becomes significantly eroded.

    However we return here to the affective nature of experience at Level 2.

    I have referred before the beautiful poetic descriptions of St. John of the Cross in describing this aspect. Again I mention this, because his own depictions deeply resonated with my experience at the time. Indeed for a period of about 6 months, I turned to my own attempts at poetic description (that initially were strongly influenced by St. John).

    So once again in Stanza 14 of the Canticle, St John writes:

    "My Beloved is the mountains
    And lonely wooded valleys,
    Strange islands,
    And resounding rivers
    The whistling of love-stirring breezes,"

    So general nature symbols are used that carry a profound archetypal spiritual meaning, which is based on deep development of the holistic unconscious (greatly facilitated through the arduous "dark night" that preceded this stage).

    Indeed one could accurately describe this as the immanent aspect, where God (as divine spirit) is directly identified with the world of created phenomena.

    However, I hasten to add that St. John uses very holistic symbols. So I would see it as a typical characteristic of this stage, where immanence is returned to experience to a degree. However it is largely subject to an overall transcendent focus, where one is still seeking a purer level of detachment from phenomena.

    So this phase of experience can best be viewed as a form of temporary spiritual consolation, designed to refresh one's flagging emotional energy, before making the final assault - as it were - on the spiritual summit.

    An example of my own - more prosaic - poetry that I can recall written at this time on Dollymount strand ends with the lines:

    "Nature, my gentle friend
     surrounds me on all sides

    It is only now that I fully realise
    That our lives are in each other,
    We have loved each other deeply
    Through all these years
    Without knowing;
    Now together we are returning
    To that eternal source,
    Which is our home"

    In fact this feeling of a deep holistic connection with nature is a key feature I believe of Celtic spirituality. So here, one can feel most truly at home through an intimate connection with the - seemingly - eternal natural landscapes that long both precede and survive our brief time on Earth.

    This entails that the all nature has both personal and impersonal aspects in dynamic interaction with each other. So from this perspective the reduced notion of impersonal object forms, that defines Conventional Science, is seen to be without foundation.

    In fact, such science identifies reality in analytic terms, with merely the conscious aspect of understanding. However corresponding holistic appreciation relates directly to the unconscious aspect. So properly combining the holistic aspect of reality (where everything is seen as essentially inter-related ) and its corresponding analytic aspect (where phenomena enjoy a localised separate identity) will require explicitly incorporating both the conscious and unconscious aspects of understanding.

    This holistic aspect of nature has been wonderfully captured in the writings of my compatriot John O'Donohue e.g. his best selling "Anam Cara" (which is the Irish translation for "Soul Friend"). So nature can indeed serve as an enduring "Soul Friend".

    However though I love the optimistic nature of O'Donohue's writing, I have often experienced a more bitter-sweet relationship with nature.

    In fact a poem that exercised a strong effect on me in childhood called "The Wayfarer" written by Padraig Pearse - yes, one of the key revolutionaries in the Irish Rebellion of 1916 (and written on the eve of his execution) - commences with the lines,

    "the beauty of the world has made me sad
     This beauty that will pass".

    And I must admit to frequently experiencing the same feeling. Indeed without this, I do not think it would be possible to fully long for an eternal truth (not directly tied to transient phenomena).

    There is a thinly veiled romantic - even erotic - quality to St. John's verse in the Spiritual Espousal.

    This would suggest perhaps an important female friendship informing such feelings, where he was thereby enabled to see God reflected with a feminine face throughout nature.

    Far from authentic contemplation preventing the possibility of such relationships, at certain times, they can comprise a truly integral part of the journey.

    However a certain tension is inevitable in these relationships. One is seeking a purer notion of beauty. This can indeed become associated with an intimate friendship where romantic feelings, initially of an archetypal nature, are involved. However - certainly from my own experience - this tension can eventually constitute a problem, as one simultaneously feels the pull upwards towards a purer spiritual meaning, with the corresponding pull downwards towards the more physical fulfilment of the relationship.

    Generally, when one has sufficiently worked through the conflicting feelings involved, the romantic attachment itself tends to fade. In principle this could enable an enduring platonic friendship to develop, but in practice such a relationship may often not survive to this stage.

    What is certain however is that when one  exercises the "higher self" for a considerable period of time through the continual holistic outpouring of the spiritual unconscious, it creates a growing compensatory pressure on the "lower self" with its still repressed physical instinctive desires.

    So ultimately the attention turns largely away in development from the archetypes of the "higher self" to the increasingly intimate physical instinctive projections of the "lower self".

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Dim Contemplation

    We return to providing a personal perspective with respect to the second of the three key levels of Band 3 (i.e. Band 3, Level 2).  I have identified this here before with - what St. of the Cross refers to as - "Spiritual Espousal". But as my last blog entry would suggest, this perhaps is premature as St. John places undue emphasis on "The Ascent" with respect to the transcendent aspect of contemplative development.

    So, though in many ways I found that a new spiritual "dawn" did indeed unfold, that in many ways closely resembled St. John's own account, I gradually realised that this was ultimately a false "dawn" in that it did not at all signify that a "Spiritual Marriage" was to take place in the foreseeable future.

    Though I thought at the time that the required rebalancing of the transcendent with the immanent direction was now taking place with respect to experience, I have since come to realise that this was not the case.

    In later attempting to articulate for myself what indeed had earlier happened at this time, I was reminded - using a mathematical analogy - of a term from secondary school differential calculus called an "inflection point".

    Now differentiation is related to rates of change with dy/dx denoting the "infinitesmal" change of y with respect to x.

    If in psychological terms we view y as development and x as the transcendent direction, at Level 1 (Band 3) the change in one's spiritual experience reflects the change with respect to focus on the transcendent direction. We could also refer to the rate of change with respect to the transcendent focus itself which - especially - during the "dark night of spirit" can be become accentuated to an extreme degree. Here the spiritual mountain to be ascended begins to resemble the North face of the Eiger. So this change in development with respect to the changing degree of transcendence involved (which accelerates during this time) is d2y/dx2.

    Now for a maximum, d2y/dx= 0, signifying the extreme in terms of transcendence.

    In other words when "the dark night of the soul" reaches its crisis (coinciding with the maximum degree of transcendence) it passes through this point of inflection, where now the change with respect to the transcendent emphasis begins to decelerate.

    This relative easing in the situation then allows the immanent aspect to express itself (while however still remaining subject to a primary transcendent focus).

    Indeed the analogy with an arduous mountain climb such as Mount Everest can be fruitful here.

    Initially, one may attempt as it were, to climb the entire mountain without an oxygen bottle (through sole emphasis on the transcendent aspect). However eventually one can then get pushed beyond one's ability to endure in attempting to proceed further in this manner. In other words on reaching the crisis point of "the dark night of the soul", one may then be temporarily required to return to a lower level to recuperate. This certainly happened in my own case, where for several years, I appeared to assume a "normal" life again in the world. However once sufficiently recuperated, the ascent continued. However this time it was supplemented as it were by an adequate oxygen supply signifying that the extreme transcendent focus was no longer appropriate.

    However  the degree of immanence experienced was only sufficient to enable me to reach an even higher level of transcendence (at Level 3) representing the summit of the mountain.

    So ultimately the considerable task of how to successfully descend the mountain, so that I could plant my feet firmly on the plains below, had still to be negotiated.

    I was subsequently to learn that it is only on this descent that the full rebalancing of transcendence with immanence could take place. And whereas I found the spiritual accounts of the various traditions to be of considerable benefit in terms of negotiating the "ascent", unfortunately I found them of comparatively little value in terms of aiding the corresponding "descent".

    Somehow, the mistaken impression is given - certainly to me - that the task of achieving unity is largely completed once "The Ascent" has been significantly negotiated where now one can joyfully fall into the arms of God (waiting to greet the disciple at the summit).

    Indeed this is the very reason why I am writing this blog as I  hope to offer a different perspective on the perennial spiritual journey, from a modern perspective, that also addresses other issues (such as its important links to mathematics and science) that are generally ignored by the esoteric traditions.

    The "dawning" that takes place at this stage is therefore due to the temporary relaxation that follows the "dark night". Though sometimes comforted by an obscure presence, for many years one may have endured severe trials and considerable isolation in a highly congested inner environment.

    Ironically it is only when one believes that all is lost that the internal straining for perfection can cease and the body finally achieve some degree of relaxation.

    Though not all apparent in the darkness, as one's conscious world becomes slowly eroded, the unconscious wells below become deeply filled with the spirit.

    So with the self now sufficiently relaxed, this spirit slowly reaches the threshold of consciousness revealing itself in a remarkable new holistic light.

    This is not brilliant in the manner of  earlier bouts of illumination, but rather a very dim tranquil light that like a breaking dawn slowly brightens up the world around.

    It is very much as one waking from a deep sleep to discover creation being born in a marvellous new manner.

    This dim illumination brings a profound feeling of certitude - and as it is received very passively - a great deal of inner peace.

    A scientific analogy (which in truth is much more than mere analogy) can be given.

    As we know the electromagnetic spectrum is made up of various bands (of which natural light comprises just one small band).

    In spiritual terms, there is likewise a spectrum of energy comprising many bands (representing distinctive types of intuitive awareness). So the common sense intuitions that govern everyday affairs comprise the natural light band on this spectrum.

    However the contemplative journey entails direct experience of further bands. Now, from the transcendent perspective, whereas illumination on the outward journey, entails direct experience of increasingly holistic bands (of long wavelength and low frequency), purgation entails direct intensive experience of energy (with short wavelength  - such as x-rays - and high frequency).

    So dim contemplation can be likened to radio waves (from a spiritual perspective) that are extremely passive with very long wavelength and low frequency.

    However this insight is fully appropriate for obtaining a pure holistic vision of the nature of reality.

    In fact, as we know radio waves now serve as a valuable means of achieving global communication.
    In a similar manner, this dim contemplation likewise serves as an extremely valuable means of obtaining a truly global understanding of reality.

    Now as on previous occasions, the pure illumination phase (of a dim spiritual nature) gradually gives way to incorporation with both affective and cognitive phenomena as a new worldview (in artistic and scientific terms) is formed.

    We will deal with these in greater length in further contributions.

    However if the ascent is to continue, such phases of illumination are not destined to last for too long.

    So gradually, one finds that instead of spiritual consolation, lengthy periods of  withdrawal can take place (as if continually facing into a cold north wind).

    Though this does indeed represent a renewed form of purgation, it tends now to alternate in a much more seamless fashion with corresponding periods of illumination.

    However gradually, as a compensatory reaction to very "high level" spiritual activity, one becomes subject to "low level" fantasies and projections of an increasingly intimate kind.

    So once again the real battleground of this stage is the attempt to reconcile "high level" spiritual with "low level" physical instinctive activity.